Tag Archives: Melbourne

GaryView: Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant

Gary and LissaSnippets of conversation overheard during the evening…

Lissa: Thanks for coming with me tonight, Gary. You may have saved my life.

Gary: I thought you said it was just a work thing.

Lissa: It is. And I love my job, but I hate work functions. I never know what to talk about besides work.

Gary: … I know what you mean. I never even had a job to talk about.

Lissa: You and I always have lots to talk about.

Gary: I know.  <smiles>

Lissa: Anyway, I thought you might enjoy checking Dracula’s out.

Gary: I came here once before. In the 80s, to see what it was like.

Lissa: And what was it like?

Gary: Okay. I couldn’t eat anything, and I didn’t understand any of the jokes, and I was by myself so people kept giving me funny looks. But the decorations were really good.

Lissa: Well, we can keep each other company a bit this time.

***

Lissa: Gary, this is my boss, Beatrice.

Beatrice: So your Lissa’s mysterious Gary!

Gary: Ah. Yes. (looks at Lissa) Am I mysterious?

Lissa: Not to me.

Beatrice: But all she ever says is “I’m seeing Gary this weekend” but she doesn’t tell us anything about you.

Lissa: There’s not much more to say, is there Gary?

Gary: No. We get together and watch TV mostly.

Lissa: And talk.

Beatrice: I’ll bet there’s more to it.

Lissa: Gary and I are just friends, Beatrice.

Beatrice: ‘Friends’ is good, but (c0nspiratorially to Gary) it sounds like more than friends when she talks about you.

Gary: (deadpan) That’s because I’m really a vampire and Lissa and I sometimes get caught up in vampire business.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter and slaps Gary on the arm) I can see why you like him, Lissa! Good on you for getting in the mood, Gary!

Lissa: (trying to get the startled look off her face) Yeah, he’s a hoot.

***

Lissa: Gary, stop telling me what’s coming up in the ghost ride. It’s supposed to be a surprise.

Gary: But I can see what’s there.

Lissa: That’s because you can see in the dark. But you’re kind of spoiling the fun.

Gary: But you don’t really think it’s scary do you? It’s just animatronics and a soundtrack and Oh!!

Lissa: (dies laughing) You got scared by the wind machine!!!

***

Gary: I don’t get it.

Lissa: Well, I’m not going to explain it.

Gary: I mean, I know it’s a joke about sex. I just don’t know why it’s supposed to be funny.

Lissa: I don’t either, Gary. Never mind. They’ll be singing again soon.

Gary: The singing’s pretty good. Even though that’s not about vampires either. I really thought there’d be more vampire stuff in the show.

Lissa: They did the song from True Blood. That was cool.

Gary: Yeah.

***

Gary: Is that a chocolate coffin?

Lissa: It is! It’s delicious!

Gary: Smells good.

Lissa: You think it all smells good.

Gary: Yep.

Lissa: Tastes good too!

***

Beatrice: God, Gary, did you buy everything?

Gary: No. Just the programme. Lissa bought me the glass. See. It’s a skull with vampire teeth.

Beatrice: I know! I got one for Jean too.

Gary: That’s Mrs Beatrice, isn’t it?’

Lissa: Gary!

Beatrice: (laughing) I know it’s what you all call her, you know. It drives Jean nuts, but I kind of like it.

Jean: (grabs Beatrice by the hand) At my work, they call you Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: Oh, excellent. I like that too.

Gary: Nice to meet you both. Mrs Beatrice. Mrs Jean.

Beatrice: (roars with laughter) Seriously, Lissa, your friend is a hoot.

Lissa: Yep. (grins at Gary) He is.

***

Lissa: Did you have a good night?

Gary: I did. Thanks for asking me along.

Lissa: Thank you so much for coming. I had a good time too. And Beatrice thinks you’re awesome.

Gary: That’s because she thinks I’m joking when I’m not.

Lissa: Maybe. Still. I’m really glad you came.

Gary: Me too. Even if most of the jokes and music weren’t about vampires.

Lissa: At least you got a vampire skull drinking cup out of it.

Gary: And it flashes! (turns on the light switch at the bottom of the cup. They watch the vampire skull glass flash multiple colours and admire its schlockiness for a while.)

***

Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant has been operating in Melbourne for over 30 years.

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’. Visit my website for more information.

Review: Fall Girl by Toni Jordan

I’m a big fan of heist shows.  The Sting, Catch Me If You Can, the sanctioned heists of Mission Impossible, the doing-it-for-the-little-guy heists of Leverage, the for-the-hell-of-it larceny of Hustle. Even the cons in the gods-battling-to-rule-the-world story of American Gods. I don’t imagine I’d be as enamoured of a real life attempt on my worldly goods, though I flatter myself that I’m both too honest and too smart to fall for one, but I’m all for a fictionalised con artistry.

Toni Jordan’s Fall Girl is a delightful contribution to the genre. Dr Ella Canfield is an evolutionary biologist trying to get funding for research to prove that the Tasmanian Tiger still exists – and what’s more, is living in the Mornington Peninsula. Only of course, there is no such person as Dr Ella Canfield. Della, one of a long line of elegant con artists, is just trying to relieve millionaire Daniel Metcalf of some of the funds in the Metcalf Trust. She doesn’t expect he’ll miss it, really.

It turns out, however, that there are a lot of things she doesn’t expect, but they happen anyway. Like Daniel deciding he needs to see the scientist Dr Ella in action over a weekend before he hands over the cash. Cue a crash course in outdoorsy living and scientific method. But there’s definitely some odd things going on, both at home and out bush, and Della will have her hands full trying to sort it all out before the end.

It’s hard to comment without risking massive spoilerage, but it may be sufficient to say that Della and her family of con artists find that life is a lot harder to manipulate when you’re not always sure who is lying to whom.

There’s a delicious screwball humour about the whole story of Daniel, Della and Della’s misfit family. There’s also a warm sense of bygone eras about it – that whiff of the gentleman thief, like Raffles, the roguishly charming villainy of some Cary Grant films. Della’s family, living in their ramshackle old home filled with secret doorways and hidden rooms, belongs to a more chivalrous time than the one they live in.

It’s refreshing, too, to see a heist story from the point of view of a female protagonist, Della is sharp, funny, thoughtful and clever. Joining her on the journey to discover the layers of truths behind this simple job gone complicated, and her own family.

All these layers of lies and that sense of old fashioned chivalrous thievery are central to the plot and its resolution. This makes it more than a screwball romance or a heist story – it’s also a story about people and change and belonging. But mainly it’s huge fun and very engaging !

Fall Girl by Toni Jordan is published by Text Publishing.