By Natalee Kerr
After touring the globe, a “vibrant” cabaret show is heading to Geelong with a fresh twist for the first time this month.
Director James Welsby said his latest production Yummy Deluxe is a drag show “with a difference”.
“We were the first group to mix drag and burlesque stars in a show like this,” he said.
The new and refined cast of Yummy Deluxe blend drag with music, aerials, dance, circus and burlesque in a fresh take of Welsby’s original Yummy show.
Welsby said the performance aims to challenge cultural attitudes toward gender.
“Half of the cast are women, as we believe that all workplaces should have an equal amount of women,” he said.
Welsby said he was inspired to start Yummy after the performing arts scene faced one of its toughest periods.
“I created the show after serious funding cuts of $100 million were announced to the Australia Council for the Arts, which would really affect the independent arts sector,” he said.
“I decided to change gear and channel my practice of contemporary choreography into drag.”
Welsby formed Yummy in 2015 and has since performed across Australia and Europe, and won multiple awards at last year’s Green Room Awards, which celebrate Melbourne’s performing arts scene.
The Canberra native said his love for performing arts blossomed early after being “obsessed” with dancing since he was a kid.
“I started tap dancing at 11-years-old, and have been in shows non-stop since then,” he said.
The 31-year-old has lived in Melbourne for more than a decade and has forged a career spanning 20 years as a performer, choreographer and producer.
Welsby made the move from contemporary dance into drag five years ago.
Yummy Deluxe features new acts and eye-catching costumes, coupled with a strong sense of dance and movement, Welsby said.
“It’s a trash take on drag variety, and it’s as joyous as it is avant-garde,” he said.
His drag alter ego Valerie Hex is one of six cast members who feature in the show.
“I love fashion and magic, so Valerie Hex is all that rolled into one,” Welsby said.
The performer has previously danced in Geelong but is excited to finally “show off” his drag.
“We’re one of the leading cabarets in Australia at the moment, and we can’t wait to share our art with Geelong.”
Yummy Deluxe will feature at Drysdale’s Potato Shed on 18 May.