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Irreverent International Cabaret Star Reuben Kaye Awarded The 2024 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award

Mischievous and comedic cabaret star Reuben Kaye was announced as the recipient of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024 Icon Award at The 2024 Variety Gala, presented in front of a full house at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre tonight.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director, Virginia Gay: “Reuben Kaye is the essence of modern cabaret. Magnetic, irreverent, howlingly funny, and the truest and best spirit of mischief – which you would know if he’s ever sat spreadeagled, upside-down on you in one of his shows (lucky you). He takes cabaret back to its roots as a (fabulously entertaining) way to fight oppression, and he is beloved in every city he’s ever played. He is mischief, wit, sex, and sass… and we are deeply lucky to have him.”

Brash, cheeky, and brutally funny, the multi-award-winning Australian comedian, singer and writer has been a crowd favourite at Adelaide Cabaret Festival, performing his countless sold-out shows throughout the years. Reuben has sold out shows in Australia, London, and Europe, performing live with his band, The Close Contacts, and has racked up millions of views across Tiktok, Youtube and Instagram.

In fabulous anarchy as only Reuben does it, the cabaret icon returns to Adelaide Cabret Festival this year with his brand-new show, The End – Songs of Finality and Farewell, during the last weekend of late-night shows on June 21 and 22 in the Banquet Room.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Cabaret Icon Award celebrates and acknowledges pioneers and prominent figures that have had a significant impact on the Australian cabaret industry. The first Cabaret Icon Award was presented in 2013 when the festival was under the artistic direction of Kate Ceberano. The Award is now an annual tradition the festival is proud to present to the country’s finest cabaret creators.

Previous recipients of the award include the inaugural recipient Reg Livermore AO (2013), Rhonda Burchmore OAM (2014), Frank Ford AM (2015), Robyn Archer AO (2016), Debra Byrne (2017), David Bates (2018), Meow Meow (2019), David Campbell OAM (2020), Paul Capsis (2021), Libby O’Donovan OAM (2022) and Matt Gilbertson, Hans (2023).

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024
At Adelaide Festival Centre from June 7 – 22

Reuben Kaye bio:

Reuben Kaye is what happens when you tell your children they can be anything.

Fast, on the edge, and brutally funny, Reuben Kaye is a multi-award-winning Australian comedian, singer, and writer lauded for being unapologetically loud, politically active, queer, brash, and fabulous. Reuben has taken the comedy world by storm, garnering millions of views across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram, and making guest appearances on Spicks and Specks (ABC), the Melbourne International Comedy Fest Galas (ABC), Celebrity Letters and Numbers (SBS), The Apprentice: You’re Fired with Tom Allen (BBC) and Kids React to Drag (Channel 4).

Winner of multiple Best Cabaret Awards, Reuben Kaye has cemented himself as one of the biggest names in the comedy and cabaret scenes. 2019 saw the creation of two amazing shows, the self-titled “Reuben Kaye” and the adult-only late-night variety show “The Kaye Hole”. Both of these raucous and celebrated events have since been showcased around the world, collecting new fans and accolades in spades.

After touring the critically acclaimed, multi-award-winning show “The Butch is Back”, Reuben has taken the world by storm by showcasing his unapologetic and unfiltered views of politics, growing up queer, and the pandemic. Comfortable in front of any microphone, Reuben’s eloquence and hilarity is as scathingly delicious on the stage, in the TV studio, and in the podcast studio with his much loved interview show “Come To Daddy.”

It is no exaggeration to say that 2023 was one of Reuben’s biggest and brashest years yet, seeing the newest, edgiest, and more exhilarating iteration of Kaye Hole yet, as well as the unveiling of his award winning and seat selling new hour Live and Intimidating”, described aptly by Timeout as “bombastic, furious and magnetic.”

Fresh from his sell-out festival season, Reuben was hand-picked by Tina Arena and the 2023 Adelaide Cabaret Festival to premier his flashiest, funniest and most fearless endeavour yet – “EnGORGEd”, an all new show backed by an 18-piece orchestra dubbed “The Afterthoughts”.

To continue the frenzy of festival successes, Reuben was invited to debut in Just For Laughs Montreal, to perform in WorldPride’s “Opera Up Late” at the Sydney Opera House, and then went on to sell out his blockbuster run in Edinburgh Comedy Festival. Meanwhile back in his homeland of Australia, Reuben yet again went viral, with his insightful commentary on LGTBQI+ rights on ABC Q+A being shared thousands of times.

Reuben has had a jam packed 2024 where he has toured his new show, Apocalipstik, all across the country. With a brand-new hour of all original music, the show started with a two-week run at the Adelaide Fringe festival where it picked up momentum and caught fire on the comedy festival circuit. With a month performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, along with sold out shows and other big box office engagements at Brisbane and Sydney Comedy Festivals, the show has seen massive success and has received love from many.

Reuben’s unmissable live shows have sold out in Australia, London, and Europe, gleefully proving that he is the much needed, Swarovski studded revolt against the ever-narrowing views of an increasingly conservative world.


Photography: Claudio Raschella

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