Underbelly Festival Announces Full Cast of YUMMY: ICONIC

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Underbelly today announced the full cast of the critically acclaimed Yummy: Iconic, which will debut July 5 and run through July 31 at Cavendish Square.

This summer, Bendy Ben, Jarred Dewey, Jandruze, Karlee Misi, Valerie Hex and Velma Vouloir take the stage with a crazy new show that celebrates and subverts cultural icons, legends and superstars, YUMMY: ICONIC is the drag variety at its better .

YUMMY has changed the world of cabaret drag and they can’t wait to bring their unique brand of salacious variety back to the main stage! Get in quick because YUMMY is in town for a limited time only. Tickets are on sale now and available from underbellyfestival.com.

Bendy Ben is a dancer, choreographer and performance artist based in Melbourne, Unceded Wurundjeri Country. Featured in works by Australian choreographers, Lucy Guerin, Prue Lang, Melanie Lane, Antony Hamilton, Lee Serle, Sue Healey, Martin del Amo, Narelle Benjamin and Gideon Obarzanek. As a solo artist, Benjamin often inhabits fantastical dispositions that invite audiences to embrace parallel masculinities and femininities. Presentation of solo performances at Chunky Move, Lucy Guerin Inc, Performance Space, National Gallery of Victoria, Mona Museum & New Orleans Biennial. Benjamin has also collaborated with contemporary artists, such as Dylan Martorell, Belle Bassin, Lichen Kelp and Fayen d’Evie, to develop and interpret works presented in major Australian galleries, including the Art Gallery of NSW, the Ian Potter Museum of Art and Heide. Art Museum. He received an Australian Dance Award (2017), a Helpmann Award nomination (2017) and a Green Room Award (2016) for his outstanding performance in “The Dark Chorus” by Lucy Guerin Inc. Acclaimed as a performance artist in cabaret drag, Benjamin often plays with the spectacle of camouflage & masks, within egalitarian drag choreographies. These performance entities have resonated beyond the club scene, leading to commissions at Aesop, Tourism Australia, NGV, Mona Foma & Dark Mofo, ACCA, ACMI. Benjamin graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2008 with a Bachelor of Dance and was the recipient of the first VCA Choreographic Award in his senior year.

Jandruze is an Australian drag performer who has taken both the international cabaret and queer underground realms by storm. Described as both ‘incredibly gorgeous’ and ‘masters of their craft’ – over the past decade they have carved out a place as the Australian scene’s premier non-binary wet dream. Graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts School of Dance; their practice ranges from drag, dance and choreography – to costumes, sound and set design. A recent DJ pivot has revealed them to be Naarm’s (Melbourne) latest dancefloor darlings. A staple of the vibrant Australian club scene, they regularly collaborate with events such as BARBA Party, HONCHO DISKO, Thick’n’Juicy and Poof Doof among a host of others and major credits include extensive touring with YUMMY Productions ( London, Edinburgh, Auckland and Australia), RISING Festival (Melbourne) and Sydney Mardi Gras (Sydney), DARK MOFO (Hobart) – as well as collaborations with independent artists and major institutions such as Tanzer, Lee Serle, Antony Hamilton, The Huxleys, Chunky Move, NGV, ACCA and Holly Durant to name a few. With a unique blend of sultry seduction and high camp, Jandroze is sure to leave you gasping for more.

Jarred Dewey is a highly respected circus artist known for his flexible virtuosity, design sense and ability to collaborate. He began his circus training as a teenager at Cirkidz, a youth circus based in his hometown of Adelaide. In 2007 he moved to Melbourne to study at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), graduating in 2010. Since then he has worked extensively with Brisbane-based contemporary circus company CIRCA as an acrobat full-time ensemble for nine years. During his time with CIRCA, he designed, shot, and starred in 13 different productions (including OPUS, Wunderkammer, PEEPSHOW, and more) in over 30 countries around the world. He also appeared on the 2016 season of The Evening at Leicester Square in London, appeared in numerous productions of YUMMY, co-split and starred in his own Green Room Award-winning show ‘Party Ghost’, and was one of the original actors in the Circus Oz production ‘Model Citizens’ directed by Rob Tannion in collaboration with Kate Fryer.

Karlee Misi is a Maori/Niuean artist, residing and working on Gadigal land of the Eora Nation. A triple threat performer, she has spent the past 17 years teaching and performing in a wide range of disciplinary spaces, including professional musical theater (‘Barnum’ 2019 Storey Board, Diana Morales in ‘A Chorus Line’ 2013 Australian TML Tour, ‘Hairspray’ 2012 Dainty), Movies, TVC, Corporate and Commercial. Karlee is the mother of Australian Kiki Vogue house, House of Luna, founded in 2017. Some of Karlee’s credits include; The Empire Strips Back Burlesque Stage-Show Tour, Dark Mofo Festival Hobart, Australian Burlesque Festival headliner, The Imperial Hotel Sydney, ‘La Femme’ The Vanguard Sydney, Unicorns, Heaps Gay, The Witch of Kings Cross docudrama , Eora’s Vogue Balls including Sissy Ball and West Ball. Your favorite Polynesian burlesque prom princess.

Valérie Hex works tirelessly to create, improve and expand the possibilities of cabaret drag and queer dance. Consistent in all their work, they boldly created opportunities, took major risks, and strived to connect and enrich diverse audiences. Their early work, from 2007 to 2015, focused on queer dance manifestations and their current work, from 2015 to present, focuses on researching and expanding contemporary cabaret drag. A graduate of the VCA School of Dance (2007), Val has become an internationally recognized figure as a performer, choreographer and producer. As producer and director of all eight YUMMY feature films, Val has led a cast of drag and burlesque performers at over 30 festivals in Australia and overseas. YUMMY has won dozens of five-star reviews worldwide and won numerous awards including: “The People’s Choice Award” Melbourne Fringe 2021, “Best Cabaret” Fringe World 2019, “Best Cabaret Production” and “Best Cabaret Ensemble at the 2018 Green Room Awards. Val has also performed with queer performance juggernauts Taylor Mac, Glory Box, Briefs, David Sedaris and many more. Val was able to research and explore the choreographic possibilities of cabaret drag through a year-long artist residency at Dancehouse – ‘The Housemate Residency’ which culminated in a two-week mini-festival on queer dance, the first in genre in 2019. The program Val created included 10 weeks of free queer dance lessons for a large group of attendees, panel discussions, workshops and a world first in queer dance history called “Dancing Qweens”. Val also created a striking 10 minute video project during a residency at the Bowery Theatre/Brimbank City Council titled “Duets with a Shapeshifter” (Midsumma Festival 2021). Val’s work in queer dance and cabaret drag has brought tremendous prominence to the sector, blazed an original and courageous path, and facilitated an artistically satisfying and lasting career.

Velma Vouloir works extensively on burlesque as a performer and teacher, and is the creator of “CNTROVERSY”, an award-winning podcast that discovers, devours and celebrates the history of erotica. With a background in dance, pole and lyra/aerial hoop, Velma brings a rich history of performance practice to her professional ‘peeling’ stage persona. Part feisty femme fatale, part 80s geek and lots of Showgirl – Velma Vouloir won Miss Burlesque Victoria 2018, Miss Burlesque Australia “Miss Classic 2018”. She is a famous icon of Melbourne burlesque and a sought-after performance coach. She is the resident instructor of Burly Flex & Showgirl Follies at Burlesque House, which is one of Melbourne’s dedicated Burlesque hubs.

UNDERBELLY

The capital’s original pop-up is back, delivering a double dose of live entertainment and laughs in two brilliant locations: Earls Court and Cavendish Square.

The iconic Upside Down Purple Cow, Udderbelly, returns to Earls Court with jaw-dropping circus acts, comedy shows that will have you in tears and fun for the whole family. All this, accompanied by wonderful outdoor bars and delicious street food.

Underbelly Festival has once again taken up residence in the heart of the West End this spring, just off Oxford Street in London’s Cavendish Square. The Underbelly Festival’s majestic Spiegeltent is back and delivers another helping of superb cabaret, comedy-lovers shows that include the biggest LOL-worthy names on the festival’s favorite late-night show, London Comedy Allstars, and the most fabulous drag shows in town. The perfect spot for alfresco lunch or an after-work drink in the city.

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