“What The Frock! has become the UK's most significant nurturer of female talent, and has meant Bristol now gives female comedians a bigger slice of the action” – The Naked Guide To Bristol, 2015
JANE DUFFUS INTERVIEWS JAYDE
She’s the opera-singing former fishmonger who not only beatboxes but also moulds anatomically correct balloon models… she’s Jayde Adams!
Regular attendees of What the Frock! will have noticed that something was missing for the first six months of 2014. Sure, the nights are always a riot and the event doesn’t win awards for no good reason… but there was a distinct lack of a certain woman. A certain woman who sometimes wears a flesh coloured body suit, but sometimes dresses as a maniacal clown. A certain woman who can dance the entire history of pop music in under five minutes, but can also belt out Nessun Dorma in a particularly unique manner. And a certain woman who will have you in fits of laughter before she’s even opened her gob. Ladies and gentlemen, that woman is Jayde Adams. And brace yourselves, because she’s back.
I popped round to Jayde’s house in Victoria Park to catch up with what she’s been doing for the past six months… only to discover that she’s laid up with a painful-looking ‘bionic leg’ after an over-exuberant dance to Let’s Get Ready To Rumble around a springtime maypole on her first evening back in the UK. Only Jayde could make such an agonising injury so hilarious.
Where has she been for those six months? Touring Spain with the Pocket Oxford Theatre Company “who specialise in Shakespeare but not as you know it. We take Shakespeare, do away with the boring bits and add in pop culture references in order to make it easy for a Spanish audience to understand.”
What were the best bits of Spain? “My favourite bit was Barcelona: the food’s great, Gaudi’s work is there, it’s a stunning city, the men are hot and the women are hot plus there’s a beach and a cosmopolitan part.” Less popular with Jayde was Burgos in northern Spain, at which she described her hotel as being “like a scene out of The Walking Dead, it was like the apocalypse had happened outside my small little windows”. So bear those tips in mind, dear reader, when you’re considering your summer holiday options.
Jayde has the lungs to make even the most quiet of songs sound like a big belting Broadway number. But how does a girl working on Asda’s fish counter discover she can sing like that? “One evening I was ironing in the kitchen and Time To Say Goodbye came on the radio. It’s my mum’s favourite song so I know all the words and I was singing along. My housemate said I was really good and should do more.”
So how did it grow from being a radio sing-a-long to a major part of Jayde’s set (a set that won the London Cabaret Awards this year, by the way)? “Time To Say Goodbye is more classical pop than opera, but it was the first classical sounding piece of music I did. I’m trying to work out how to do The Flower Duet on my own at the moment. I can sing like a bloke, but I don’t think I can sing like two people!”
Jayde’s been closely linked to What The Frock! since January 2013 when she blew the roof off the Square Club with her barnstorming headline set, and since then has been bedded in as the event’s resident MC and played countless shows with them all around the UK. So how does she feel about the event turning two in May 2014? “I’m so glad you’ve carried this on… Every month, I know you threaten to throw in the towel, but every What The Frock! gig is incredible.”
And it’s not just comedy that Jayde says she’s learned from the What The Frock! gigs, she says they’ve also broadened her perspective as a person. “It’s only when you get older that you start forming your opinions. Before joining What The Frock!, I didn’t want to call myself a feminist because I didn’t I know what that meant… but I am now a feminist with what I understand the word to be.”
What does being a feminist mean to you? “Before I was a bit oblivious to the hardships of women. But now that I’m pushing myself I’m noticing there is an unfair advantage that men have over women. I think there are things women can do in order to stop that but we shouldn’t have to. It should be equal all the time. There needs to be someone pushing that, as it’s not going to happen on it’s own, which is why I think What The Frock! is amazing. What The Frock! has given me an opinion about my gender.”