FRINGE 2019: Why you need to see… Jayde Adams
Who: Jayde Adams
"Who runs the world?! [Girls!!] China. China's the answer to that question."
Anyone who has come to see Jayde Adams before is in for a shock. Gone are the glitter, sequins and big hair; bereft is Bristol's finest of feather boas and frills. And she is sans the merest hint of animal print. Adams has forsaken all her usual diva adornments in the quest to be taken 'seriously' by an industry that loves to pigeon-hole. Hence the paired down staging and high-necked 'serious black jumper'. This is Jayde unplugged, doing a sort of reverse Bob Dylan.
It is an audacious reinvention and you can't help but admire her chutzpah. Not only is she launching herself beyond the limits of her natural comfort zone, but she is stubbornly refusing to use crowd-pleasing weapons in her armoury. How many comics, with the emotion-draining pressures and huge expectations of the Fringe, would voluntarily choose to handicap themselves in such a way? Thankfully, and quite triumphantly, Adams knocks it out of the park.
That is because, in muting one aspect of her performance, she is allowing other facets to flourish. Adams has always been a clever, articulate, iconoclastic voice, but here is able to showcase that without distraction. In The Ballad of Kylie Jenner's Old Face, she essentially breaks down the four waves of feminism and critiques how an aggressively capitalist strain of the equality movement is robbing young women of their individualism and confidence - all whilst being really fucking funny.
In spite of the turtle-neck premise, there is nothing vaguely pretentious about the show. Indeed it is massively refreshing for someone to stand on stage and explain that they recognised their lack of knowledge about a particular subject and sought to remedy it with research. Adams talks us through her discovery of feminist ideas and arguments, and questions them robustly. She is not afraid to skewer certain media darlings and out disingenuous do-goodery.
That said, do not mistake TBOKJF for a political manifesto or TED Talk. Adams is a riot, littering the show with gags that range from piercingly acute to gloriously crude. There is one line comparing Tim Berners-Lee and Kylie Jenner which is an absolute peach, whilst a visual gag about a book she's bringing out is devilishly funny. All in all this is a remarkable personal-dare of a show that proves that Adams can do pretty much anything she sets her mind to. With or without sequins.
You can buy tickets for The Ballad of Kylie Jenner's Old Face here.