Muertos revived: Meet Onyx

Meet the delightfully wicked cast behind Dracula’s Cabaret.

Iconic Broadbeach dinner theatre institution Dracula’s Cabaret has honed its oeuvre over the years down to a razor’s edge blend of gender-bent comedy, dark fascinations and sinful musical delights.

And of course, where would this renowned brand be without their wonderfully cultish cast of world-class, hand-picked performers? We thought we’d take a closer look at some of the members that make up the naughtiest and most outrageous performance troupe on the Gold Coast, starting with Onyx – aka Gold Coaster James Smart.

In demand all over the world, James is a spirited all-round performer with a passion for choreography and drag performance. He is no stranger to Dracula’s, having previously performed in shows Nine Pints and Dracula’s: The Resurrection Tour, and now features in the revived and refreshed version of day-of-the-dead-themed extravaganza Muertos.

We dove under James’ skin to get to the bloody, beating heart of the matter.

Tell us a bit about your return to Australia after working internationally, and your thoughts on the entertainment world during the pandemic.

I returned to live in Australia at the beginning of 2019 actually. Well before the pandemic begun. However I was in Dubai for a short two month contract that ended at the beginning of 2020, so I did make it back just before things started to close down.

Being from Queensland I have been so fortunate to have been employed as an entertainer during these times. I have to say watching the worldwide entertainment industry screech to a halt and hundreds of friends and co-workers’ livelihoods come crashing down was really hard to watch. Everyone is finding their feet again but I do think it was particularly difficult for artists navigating this time because there seemed to be a lack of understanding the validity of our work and a lot of insinuation that the arts aren’t a viable career choice, regardless that it had been many people’s main income for many years.

Can you describe a career highlight?

Well one would absolutely be travel.  I’ve worked and lived in Singapore, Japan, Dubai and China. They were such culturally rich experiences and helped to broaden my world view. Another highlight would absolutely have to be the ‘Draculas Resurrection ‘ touring show at The Palms at Crown in Melbourne. I was working with such a brilliant creative team, cast and crew and I got to sing my father’s all-time favourite song ‘Stairway to Heaven’ onstage in front of him and my family and friends. Epic.

What sets Dracula’s apart as a place to work?

Dracula’s is a fabulous combination of quirkiness, campiness, comedy and powerful music. As an artist, you dream of shows where you can hone in on your personal style and show your skills. The benefit of it having moments of improvisation and interaction with the audience always keeps us on our toes and ensures every show is different.

What is your role in the refreshed Muertos and what is something really fun that you get to do in the new show?

I play the role of Onyx in the show. He has been described as an androgynous, Frankenfurter type. My position in the show is as a pop rock vocalist and a dry, insulting yet flirtatious comedic character.

Why should people come to see Muertos?

As you arrive you will be treated to some truly unique and quirky decor. This is the only restaurant you will find that has a ghost train, insane abusive waiters, amazing cocktails and a show that will make you laugh, most likely arouse you and will showcase some world class Australian talent. All wrapped in one.

Is there anything else you’d like people to know?

I would love if people could come check out Dracula’s and see what were made of. Muertos has just been revamped with some all new cast members and will be running until early 2022, when we will have an exciting new show for everyone. Please come check it out and go out and support the arts so we can get the industry thriving again!

Dracula’s Cabaret, currently featured a refreshed version of Muertos, runs from Tuesday to Saturday with tickets starting at just $99 for a Ghost Train Ride, three course meal and full show. Get amongst it at draculas.com.au.

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