Yummy: ICONIC ★★★★

Yummy: ICONIC is a drag sensation at the Underbelly Festival manages to be both Yummy AND Iconic.

When you think of the word ‘Yummy’, you probably associate it with delicious mouth watering things that you’ve dribbled over for a while and then just want to shove in your mouth without a second thought. The same can be said for the cast of this show, and Iconic? That too!

All the way from Melbourne, Australia, Yummy: ICONIC is back by popular demand at London’s famous summer Underbelly Festival in Cavendish Square, and if you’ve seen the poster you’ll already have a good idea that you’re in for a gender bending, drag, burlesque, cabaret, dance, cirque – kind of a night. Basically a ton of inclusive and diverse talent pouring all over you for an hour whilst you laugh and gasp in awe at this brilliant cast, did we mention they’re all bloody gorgeous too?

All photos by Craig Sugden

The show opens with the appropriately chosen song ‘Iconic’ by Christina Aguilera, the audience seductively introduced to each of the evening’s performers, the number building with excitement and energy as each arrives in their brilliantly set wigs and fantastically glittery costumes worthy of ‘Mamma RuPaul’ herself. You’re immediately struck by the tightness of the choreography, skill and presence of each of the artists on stage, working as a beautifully staged team inviting its audience to feel the buzz and enjoy the show.

Valerie Hex, our MC for the evening, who has enough charisma, charm and talent to win over a stadium let alone this 20th-century Spiegeltent, got straight to the point (literally) and she described how she was once a straight man working in IT until she heard a Britney Spears Remix, and now here she is, wearing something The Recs can’t help but think is missing from Diana Ross’s wardrobe (cut to an empty hanger swinging in a walk in closet somewhere in Beverley Hills).

Dramatically introduced as a trapeze bar is lowered into position over the thrust stage, Jarred Dewey was about to steal the show for the first time as he balanced and twirled, lifted and dropped high above the audience with what only can be described as world-class technique and artistic flare. Dewey’s queer take on a classic circus strongman look (and unbelievably flexible body) had the audience in total awe, and when he returned later in the show with combination of dance and contortion, and a pole dance that would make J-Lo and the cast of Hustlers look dull, the audience went wild for him and his remarkable talent.

Ever wondered how to make a life-sized sandwich? (And by that The Recs mean literally human-sized). One of the more bizarre parts of the show but nonetheless brilliantly entertaining, our next performer Jandruze had the audience eating out the palm of her hand as she showed them exactly how to craft the perfect sandwich and most importantly how you finish him it off… With lots of Mayonnaise of course! *Eyes emoji* Adding a touch of ‘flame grilled’ to her next act, Jandruze’s talents were shown to their fullest in her fire dancing spectacular, which together with the 30°+ temperature outside made us feel rather hot under a lot more than our collars.

Benjamin Hancock AKA Bendy Ben is a dazzlingly skilled dancer who was simply a treat for the eyes, and Velma Veloir had Kelly Brook’s stunning looks combined with tantalising burlesque and dance flair. What’s not to like?!

The show closed with the aforementioned Britney mega mix in Valerie Hex’s final attempt to ensure her LGBTQIA+ agenda was fulfilled and the crowd were understandably on their feet delighting in every single second.

If you’ve never been to a show at the Underbelly before and haven’t bought a ticket to Yummy: ICONIC yet, what more could you ask for than an award-winning night of culturally inclusive icons in a high camp variety show, produced by a festival who never put on a bad show? The Recs would call that a pretty safe bet for a GREAT night out.

The Recs hails Yummy: ICONIC  a mouth-watering treat.  ★ (4 stars) 

Yummy: ICONIC Tickets

Yummy: ICONIC can be found at The Underbelly Festival in Cavendish Square until 31 July 2022.

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