I can scarcely believe it, but it’s my last full day in Australia. After spending a week at Parrots in Paradise – which was as awesome as I remember even with all the new faces – I have to say goodbye in order to head South. I want to go to Movie World one last time before spending my night doing something I’ve been trying to do ever since I hit the Gold Coast – visit the Draculas Cabaret.
Sadly…these plans don’t quite go to plan. I’ve completely forgotten how unbearably awkward Gold Coast public transport can actually be, and in my haste to book didn’t think to check how close the hostel I’d be staying at (my usual standard YHA) was to both attractions. In addition to this, I miss my first train, and get stuck in 2 delays (one where some idiots decided to trespass in the Brisbane train tunnels, and another due to traffic), I get to my hostel about 2 hours after I intended. In conjunction with travelling to the park and getting back in time, there’s no point in even trying to get to Movie World, and I spent the next hour in a piss poor mood. Thankfully, there’s a 3km walk into town that can be used to drain off my anger. Since I’ve never actually seen Surfers Paradise, I do at least get to explore a brand new area of Oz.
The one thing that manages to dissipate the entirety of my ire though? A place called Infinity.
This is a strange attraction to explain. It’s not exactly a maze, but more a collection of rooms with different lighting or effects or props that create zones you wander through. It sounds fairly simple, but I utterly fell in love with it. On more than one occasion, people backtracked to find out if I was lost, only to find out I was just sticking to one zone because I enjoyed it so much. I got so many ideas for writing walking through some of these areas – it’s an inspirational goldmine. Could have happily gone in again if I’d had the chance.
Wandered along the beach on my way back, and can see how Surfers Paradise gets its name. The long beaches and large waves were mostly attracting kite surfers this afternoon, but there were dozens in the surf. However, after a month in Caloundra I’m pretty much beached out, so head back to my hostel to work on my bag. Most of my clothes are now pretty damaged or filthy, thanks to cleaning jobs, and I don’t see the point in lugging them around if I don’t have to. New Zealand should hopefully cover me for new clothes – I’m told the quality is usually better over there anyway.
Once the cull (and final care package to my mother filled with stuff I no longer want to carry but don’t want to throw out is sent off) is over, I have to start getting ready for my night out. Which involves me actually wearing a dress and trying to style my hair.
Gods do I miss my crew cut. I’m growing my hair out (again) for reasons only my subconscious seems to understand, and its back at that awkward too-long-to-leave-alone-but-too-short-to-actually-do-anything-with stage. The one thing it has going for it is the colour – my glorious blue hue is still strong, and finally reached that point where it doesn’t stain my hands every time I wash it, but it does actually require some work with the hairdryer and some straighteners. Course, every time I try to style my hair, I’m reminded exactly WHY I don’t try to style my hair. It has never behaved in my hands, not even once. As it is, I get away with have a dozen faults by shoving a band in my hair and pretending the kink in the back is intentional.
Draculas is just opposite the Pacific Fair shopping centre, which is easily reached either by tram or by bus. The building is pretty much impossible to miss, with its castle motif and giant billboard. When you arrive, regardless of your ticket, you enter through the same door, before heading into the main building which hosts the bar and the entry to the ghost train. I was here on the cheaper Cabaret ticket instead of the VIP, and you travel to your seat via the ghost train. It’s a fairly standard haunted house ride that takes 2 people per trip, right up until near the end, where there’s a staff member hiding in the shadows, who lunges a fake hand into the carriage with a scream – this little event shows up later too…
Once in the theatre, I was guided to my seat by a gentleman in killer heels and a huge Marie Antoinette wig that took him over 7 foot, before being greeted by my waiter. I will admit he was my least favourite part of the night – the staff are all partially playing roles, but he was rather rough, rude and overly threatening compared to the others on the floor.
The rest of the night however, was awesome start to finish. First off, the food is great. The starter is a small pie with so many flavours it’ll probably go cold while you’re trying to identify them all. The main is a little bit more of a let down – you have your choice of a multitude of meats, and I went for chicken. It was fine, but it was served with broccoli and a small potato gratin slice which was nowhere near as good as the rest of the meal, had no business even being on the plate. Also though asparagus would have gone with the sauce better, and god clearly I have watched too much Masterchef.
The flaws with the main however, were instantly redeemed with dessert. I really wish they let you take photographs inside the building, because it’s a small dark chocolate coffin with cream cheesecake filling. This was so good, that when the girl sitting next to me didn’t finish, I plucked it off the plate before the waitress could steal it. Could have eaten them by the tray.
While you’re eating, you have the pre-show entertainment, which consists mostly of a ghostly jazz band, and a little stand-up comedy and dancing. It also ends with a darling video – there’s a hidden camera in the ghost train which films the corner with the actor and the hand. They splice together the reactions of everyone and then air it on the big screen. Some of the reactions are HYSTERICAL – there are screams, spilt drinks, people going through with their eyes tightly closed. Other’s aren’t as good, reacting as if someone had patted them on the back (yours truly) but about midway through half the room is on the ground gasping for oxygen due to the laughter.
The main show is called Bloodbath, and my one issue with the show is that despite being advertised as a vampiric burlesque performance, there’s actually very little in the way of ‘vampire’ performances. We do have burlesque, and some pretty incredible acrobatics via silk cloth and hoops, as well as some great singing and musical performances, but it’s more variety show. There’s a performances involving a dead horse, robots, and even a hobbit skit (they get the guy who had the afro do to Gollum and he is gut bustlingly funny), but vampires only get a small mention. That said, there are clearly supernatural elements – two performances involved puppets, one was a severed head, while the other had them in full body, ugly costumes and performing what was essential snake charming on a monster’s very long penis (which at one point decided to go ‘greet’ a few members of the audience).
My favourite though was one near the very end, which started out as a very standard burlesque performance, with the woman stripping to her nipple covers and underwear…only to then step behind a while screen, and apparently start stripping off her flesh! Once she was down to her skeleton, the screen dropped, and the wonders of black suits and puppetry had a skeleton finish off the performance. Really clever and well done. Hopefully one day I can go back to Draculas when they have another performance, but this was great – highly recommend it to anyone heading to the Gold Coast.