I booked this show on a risky punt when it first went on sale, when it was pretty much at the height of the pandemic and I hadn’t booked a show for months, and I really needed the sense of having something new to look forward to when it was all over – not that we’re there yet. I hadn’t actually heard of Jayde Adams before; in fact, I’d still seen nothing new about her by the time we went to see Saturday’s show.
But that was my bad, as Ms Adams clearly has a devoted following, and a history of extravagant stage performances as was revealed in the opening part of The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face, the significance of which title only became revealed as the show neared its end. I didn’t actually know who Kylie Jenner was either, but fortunately Ms Adams includes an explanatory segment for the over 50s in the show, which was damn useful. I did know the Kardashians were grotesque, but this really helped me understand just how grotesque they are.
The show is basically a comedy TED talk (or lecture, as we used to say in the old days) where Ms Adams grapples with her love/hate relationship with both the word and the concept of feminism. She loves it when it means what it’s meant to mean, and hates it when it is misappropriated by the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z, as she revealed in a hilarious sequence describing a certain stage performance that took place (literally) Under That Word.
She also brings in the magical power of the Serious Black Jumper as part of her material (no pun intended). Having been advised that no one took her seriously when she was camping it up in catsuits, she donned a serious black jumper to gain gravitas and found that people’s reactions are so different. And it’s true! She gives us a number of examples of influential people wearing a serious black jumper and it certainly helps you take them seriously; especially when viewed side by side with the same person in mufti.
I mustn’t give the impression that this show is in any way po-faced or academically serious. It isn’t. It’s jam-packed full of laughs. Jayde Adams has a terrific interaction with the audience and a wonderfully natural comic persona, that’s part strong and self-assured, and part vulnerable and uncertain – just like most people really, so we identify with her easily (even us chaps).
To conclude she ties feminism in with the concept of confidence, and gives us a healthy and positive definition of gaining confidence rather than relying on the outward fripperies of the likes of the Kardashians. It’s a powerful and overwhelmingly positive message and you leave the theatre buoyed up with dignity and optimism. And also having had a really good laugh – what more could you want? It’s always refreshing to enjoy intelligent, thoughtful comedy, and this show has it by the bucketful. This was almost the last night of the tour, just one more show left at Leicester Square – but she’s writing more material, so hopefully she’ll be touring again soon!