Jayde Adams: 31 cabaret review
As rollercoasters go, the one Jayde Adams takes you on over the course of a messy, fun and tear-jerking hour seems like very good value indeed. For the price of a few quid thrown in a bucket at the end, you get to travel swiftly and unswervingly through the bumpier patches of the 31-year-old's life. There's comedy. And certainly there's tragedy. Or, as Adams puts it, 'Peaks and troughs and troughs and troughs'.
The Jayde Adams story starts in the West Country, where as a pre-pubescent girl, with padding sewn into the bust of her Lycra outfits, she competed in disco dancing competitions. Competed … and came ninth, raising the underdog spirit that's stuck with her to this day. Chutzpah, guts, sass – whatever that 'X' factor is, she's got it. And though she makes her money in London as a professional Adele impersonator, here she stands before a lively, drunken Edinburgh audience in a skintight leopard skin unitard very much as her own woman. 'I'm going to carry on smashing life in the dick,' she announces, with considerable pride.
You can believe it. Adams is a gifted performer – as adept at one-liners as she is gyrating dance moves. Taken together, all her glamour and grit and elaborate costumes make for a kind of whirlwind cabaret. One that isn't nostalgic for Weimar sleaze so much as 90s 'fingering sessions', and so swaps nightclub smokiness for a thick mist of Lynx Africa, sprayed over the audience.
There isn't a lot to fault her on, apart from letting the painful episodes of her life form an overwhelmingly large part of the whole. Plus, as good as this Fringe debut is, it's clear that her quips, musical numbers and clownish set-pieces could get sharper still. This is an affecting and frequently hilarious show – rickety in parts, but one hell of a ride.