YUMMY, the legendary gender-blending drag cabaret

YUMMY is a powerhouse cabaret of Melbourne drag, dance, circus, and live music that has been serving smash hit events across numerous festivals since 2015. Known for its cult following and wild aesthetic, YUMMY has become legendary in the underground club cabaret scene, and now presents feature-length shows that transverse both entertainment and contemporary performance art.

YUMMY has a unique sense of gender balance and fluidity that reflects a changing cultural attitude toward gender identity, and is recognised for its incorporation of women in drag spaces. YUMMY has carved a name for itself by blending absurd and outrageous drag conventions with fascinating and complex contemporary choreography. It brings a vibrant, queer, and subversive audience experience, and works well as a prime-time or late night production.

After touring the globe, the legendary cabaret YUMMY makes its London debut at the Underbelly Festival Southbank from 27 June (press night 2 July).  Underbelly directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood said, “you won’t want to miss the outrageously delicious Yummy and their nightly cabaret party which joins us our incredible international line-up at Underbelly Festival Southbank 2019 for four fabulous weeks.”

YASS Magazine met YUMMY prior to their London shows and here is the exclusive interview.

YUMMY has become a legendary sensation in the underground club cabaret scene. How did everything start?

YUMMY started in 2015 as a response to funding cuts and a lack of inclusivity of women in drag at the time. We went rogue and started YUMMY, and here we are today!

Did you expect the huge popularity and success?

No! We really just wanted to do our thing, have fun, and bring something strong to the drag table. It’s really cool that people like it. The best thing about YUMMY is that it’s never finished, and we get to make new stuff all the time. It’s very satisfying and joyous!

How important is gender balance and fluidity for you? And how do you make sure to find this balance?

We do drag to defy gender limitations, and not as a form of imitation. Drag is about freedom, baby! We don’t have any rules in YUMMY – it’s queer and femme, but it can go anywhere.

How do you feel about being part of the Underbelly Festival in London?

It’s dream come true, and a match made in heaven.

What does this performance mean to you and what shall we expect to see?

This is our OG show, so we’re thrilled to be bringing it to London. We have so much more up our sleeve, but our baggage allowance sets those limits! We have completely different shows full of original content, but it’s important we start with the flagship show YUMMY and go from there!

What is your biggest audience and the target group of the YUMMY?

Drag audiences, dance audience, burlesque audiences – but mostly people who believe in the power of joy. Outrageous kooks also welcome!

Do you feel that drag art scene has been unrepresented all these years?

We’ve always been around it, so no. A lot of drag art is misunderstood by the mainstream. Not everything is about dollars and pounds, sometimes community and ideas are the most important things to share. 

What makes this performance special and different?

I think that’s for the audience to decide! The cast is full of high calibre performers with serious skills. Our costumes are also all pretty out of control. It’s as entertaining as it is avant garde.

What is the most difficult part of this performance?

The costume changes backstage. It’s like the amazing race but in heels. We always make it onstage, but we’ve come close to sprinting out half dressed before! There are 7 of us and we each have 6 costume changes. Do the maths on that. 

Is your industry hard to make new stars?

I don’t think any of us are really motivated by stardom – there’s an amazing culture within YUMMY to keep the standard really high, so I think that’s what keeps us on our toes… each other!

Do you need to be part of the drag scene in order to be a part of YUMMY?

Hell no! But I think drag artists appreciate a couple layers to the show that maybe non-drag audiences miss. It’s really made for everyone, although we get some very confused faces sometimes!  

What has been the most powerful moment you have experienced during all these years?

We are just doing our thing and working hard to get our show out there. Sometimes people tell you that they met at a YUMMY show, and now are married – or they’ll tell you that it changed their life and convinced them to change careers. That kind of feedback is really beautiful and amazing, and makes you realise how the culture of our time is interconnected with people’s lived experience. It’s a privilege and we just want to keep going. 

What are your future plans?

YUMMY is never done, it’s like fashion. There’s always more to explore. We can’t wait to meet our people in London and form new relationships. See you there?

More YUMMY here:


Tickets: underbellyfestival.com

*all images are courtesy of YUMMY

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