Australia as the site of the post-RuPaul drag revolution? Don’t scoff, my friends, because you’ll be a believer after you bear witness to the tasty goodness that is Yummy. The glam, flirtatious, genderqueer extravaganza that has been taking the world by storm finally arrived in town for BrisFest and boy was it delicious.
What can I say about Yummy that hasn’t already been said? Winner of Best Production and Best Ensemble at the 2018 Green Room Awards, sold-out shows at all of the Fringe Festivals, 5 star reviews galore and that’s just the start. Word spread around town quickly that this would be one of the picks of the festival, and all these tasty morsals were too tempting for Brisbane audiences. They snapped up tickets to see these divas of drag, circus, burlesque and gender-fuckery take the catwalk by storm, with most nights selling out and crowds bringing down the roof for the new Aussie stars of non-conformity.
For the uninitiated, Yummy is a proudly queer as fuck show that is part celebration of all that is drag, and part riotous showcase of the underground cabaret scene. Mix that together with circus, dance, performance art, burlesque, haunting vocals and a banging sound-track and you get a whole lot of awesome. From its origins in the Melbourne club scene in 2015, Yummy has taking the world by storm and tonight was finally Brisbane’s turn to taste the goodness.
From start to end, the Yummy cast of seven ably work all corners of the room from their catwalk / stage for their cabaret spectacular. Each act flirts, charms and, at times confuses, the crowd as the cast uses circus, burlesque, dance and lipsync as modalities to explore and celebrate the non-binary. But, don’t worry, you’re not going to be force-fed a treatise, a thesis, or an analysis of gender. With Yummy, you get a showcase, a party, an expression, and a way of being all in one.
Some of the many flavours included on the tasting plate are a demonic glamazon stomping down the catwalk with her guard of rabid unicorns, man as the new white-meat, the campest genie since Barbara Eden, and a burlesque celebration of old Hollywood tropes. Stand-outs were Benjamin Hancock’s hypnotic cyber-punk lip sync that morphed the human form into alien proportions, Valerie Hex’s toe-tapping girl-scout who shows us just how lovely it is to be a woman, and every moment Zelia Rose takes the stage. Oh to be that fierce when I grow up. All this ably hosted by one of Australia’s drag royalty and self-proclaimed corporate bitch, Karen from Finance.
Throughout the show, we’re assaulted in all best ways by a performers twisting and contorting both their bodies and conventions to show us that the future of self-expression. Most of the performances lean towards the camp and the surreal, and there were multiple points during Yummy when I had to ask my friend, “What the fuck did we just see?” A few pieces take a more serious bent and, while visually gorgeous, they feel slightly out of place with the broader tone. That being said, the smile didn’t leave my face for the whole night and by the end, the audience was begging for more.
If you love Ru Paul’s Drag Race, you’ll adore Yummy. It will show you how much more there is to drag, strutting and performance art than you can see on the popular TV show. It’s a celebration of expression, a show-case of drag, and post-gender performance art all in one. It’s not just for the boys, it’s for everyone and every form of expression. Bring on the gender revolution led by Yummy, I say.
If you missed out, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Next time Yummy’s in town, strap on your stilletos, throw off your gender-norms and gobble up this tasty treat that is oh so Yummy. Not to be missed.
Adam Wood attended Yummy Saturday 15th September. Yummy is presented as part of Brisbane Festival 12 -15 September at the Roundhouse Theatre, QUT Theatre Republic.
Cast & creatives
Producer / Director / Performer Valerie Hex aka James Welsby
Collaborating artist / Performer Karen From Finance
Collaborating artist / Performer Jandruze
Collaborating artist / Performer Hannie Heldsen
Collaborating artist / Performer Benjamin Hancock
Collaborating artist / Performer Joni in the Moon
Collaborating artist / Performer Zelia Rose