It comes as no surprise that sword-swallowers suffer the odd gullet gripe. “It’s called sword throat,” says Amanda Miller. “It feels like you’ve smoked too many cigarettes – like you’ve had a hard night – but all the time.” For someone that deep-throats daggers, feasts on fire and knocks nails into her head, she sounds sugary sweet – but is quick to assure me, “it’s a front.”
As far as ballets go, The Nutcracker might be the most delicious. The whole stage transforms into a sweet-scape, with dances in ode to chocolate, coffee and tea. But for those who want more than a feast for the eyes, The Australian Ballet has collaborated with French patisserie La Belle Miette. It has created three limited-edition macarons inspired by the production that will finish its 2014 season.
Nursing a tea on the empty stage of her Richmond loft-turned theatre, Gabriella Rose-Carter is a sure-sight calmer than when I first laid eyes on her. That was in May, when she co-starred in Q44’s inaugural production of Edward Allan Baker’s Dolores as an otherwise-stoic woman getting ballistic with her troubled sibling. Rose-Carter is the founder of Q44, a new Melbourne theatre company named after a New York Bronx bus route, that doesn’t shy away from gritty drama.
The Australian Ballet soloist Natasha Kusen is on her lunch break. “We just had our first costume run for Act One,” she says. She is in the middle of rehearsing Australia’s first rendition of La Bayadère. It’s quite the curious performance – a grand, classical ballet with the technical prowess of Swan Lake, set in India (or, at least, 19th-century Russia’s romanticised assumption of the “exotic east”).