Jayde Adams - 31
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2017
Jayde Adams is certainly different. For her, no standing on stage with a microphone, no ascerbic or pithy anecdotes and when she picks on an audience member for a little participation it is to get them on stage and simulate having sex with them. Twice. At length. Same bloke. The resulting performance is hilarious, moving, ridiculous and commanding. Although there were traces of inexperience showing through at times as she babbled slightly with nervous energy, she massively overran her time (by 20 minutes) and it did become slightly rambling and "emotionally unload-y" towards the end - Adams has created a very personal show which does not come across as self-indulgent or inane at all, rather it is one that is loaded with real pathos, a strong narrative and a truly incredible finalé. And it's bloody funny.
The small audience of about 15 were kept engaged as Adams' set moved from clown to stand-up through to story-teller and then back again. Accompanied by some well thought-out backing music she took us through the highs and lows of a journey which was essentially an honest self-effacement of some of her key disappointments but underpinned with a positive cheerfulness. Her use of props and costumes stayed on the right side of stupid, and she controlled the whole thing with a cool charm which belied the experience and charisma of her projected chaos. "Shut up and get on the floor" she barked at the bloke from row C who she got up on stage, before smiling so very sweetly at him and the audience to remind us that she was in charge but that this was still a comedy show.
Special mention has to be given to the closing routine of her set, which is a surprise worth waiting for and sums up her degree of talent. Afterwards as I thanked her for the performance and remarked on the closing, she admitted almost shyly that she didn't do it at the end of every show, only when she felt people were "with her". Well Jayde, this tiny, cold Thursday evening crowd were definitely with you to a man, and if they didn't have any doubts then neither should you.