Bright lights, Broadway production, and a Bristolian accent come together to present The Divine Miss Jayde as a unified show of stand-up comedy and show-stopping musical theatre. With a sentimental appreciation for her working-class Bristolian upbringing, Adams presents an hour of autobiographical comedy carried by her magnificent voice and captivating stage-presence.
Using the aid of her Olivier-winning pianist, Richard Thomas, Adam’s manages to take her skillset of singing, acting and comedy, and transform a stand-up set into a musical production. Highlighting her genuine and raw comedic style, what could’ve been pretentious came across as totally the opposite. With topics ranging from Beyoncé’s questionable display of feminism, to hypocrisy in the body-positivity movement, Adam’s doesn’t shy from hard-hitting subjects whilst managing to intertwine her personal experiences as a working-class Bristolian woman.
Inherent to the show, her autobiographical experiences were shared through song. The combination of a trained opera singer and an Olivier-winning pianist produced a show which was more than just an hour of stand-up. It was a performance in which the audience were eating out the palm of Adam’s hand from the get-go. Singing ‘Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was Younger’, ‘Whatever happened to Baby Jayde?’ and ‘Show Your Wrists’, each song managed to accurately observe relatable past-experiences producing an hour of nostalgic hilarity for the audience. If the show intended to entertain then it certainly succeeded, yet the glamour and flamboyancy of the performance did sometimes detract from the core element of the set as stand-up comedy when potentially hilarious jokes didn’t quite land.
Outside each of the musical numbers, Adams bolstered the narrative with intervals of traditional stand-up. The best received material often found humour within serious topics, such as feminism and body-positivity, which is likely down to the Soho audience struggling to relate to working-class Bristolian themes whilst finding common-ground amongst popular current affairs. A personal favourite gag was Adam’s response to the body positivity movement in which she started showing off her leg whilst questioning ‘Does this make me brave? Am I ‘brave’ now?’. Whereas some of Adam’s humour was self-deprecating, she did manage to own these jokes by presenting them as empowering. This is a unique skill which should certainly be fostered and replicated in future shows.
As winner of the 2014 Funny Women award, Jayde Adams had high expectations and did not disappoint. The poster painted The Divine Miss Jayde to be everything one hoped for; glitz, glam, and gert lush. Following this, Adam’s has recently announced her next show as The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face which hopefully contains more side-splittingly accurate songs, alongside gags empowering self-deprecating humour. Definitely one to watch!