RUMOUR HAS IT star Naomi Price shares special insights into bringing Adele to life…
On the origins of the show:
The idea for the show started with a simple question: who is this man who shattered Adele’s heart and inspired her mega- platinum album 21? Our early research returned quite satirical material, and while the show is absolutely full of profanities and provocative quips, we’ve uncovered much more poignancy journeying behind the glossy veneer of the ‘popstar’. There is a wealth of information about Adele out there; in news articles, biographies, videos, interview snippets. We used this material as a starting point and set out to fill in some of the blanks.
On Adele’s music:
Adele is undoubtedly one of the greatest songwriters and storytellers of our generation. To think that she was just 16 when she penned her Grammy Award winning debut single Chasing Pavements is mind-blowing in itself, and testament to what a special talent she is. And then there’s the 21 album on which every single song is a masterpiece. I discovered this particular album at a very chaotic time in my personal life and felt an immediate, profound connection to her music. Adele is a sensational storyteller and for an actor/singer, you couldn’t ask for better material to sing. It’s so emotional and soul- baring and I think that’s why people connect with her so intimately.
On how her ‘Adele’ differs from the real Adele:
The show is based on the real Adele Adkins, but we have obviously taken some creative license with certain aspects. I suppose my Adele is sharper-tongued than the real life Adele comes across. And probably drinks more onstage! I haven’t really tried to recreate her singing style because it’s almost impossible – it’s more about blurring the lines between reality and fiction. I like to play with giving people what they want from an Adele show, but also delivering things they would never have expected. It gets interesting when the character of Adele gets muddied with me as a person – there are similarities other than being curvy redheads from England! I like to think of it as an examination of her life – factual and fictional.
On her costume:
I am privileged to work with three extraordinary artists who have crafted our ‘Adele’ physically over the years: Nathalie Ryner, Leigh Buchanan and Rebecca Hubbard. Back in 2012 when the show was in its infancy, we engaged Nathalie to create the most incredible fat suit. I honestly feel so sexy wearing it! It’s really comfy but once it’s on, it’s like a unitard and you can’t go to the toilet unless you pretty much get naked. That can be a bit stressful when you’re really nervous before a show and so I have to wait until the last minute to put it on! Nathalie also recreated Adele’s iconic black-lace look from her early 19 days and in it I become instantly recognisable as Adele. For the Queensland Theatre Company season in 2015 we introduced a few new surprises and one of them was a jaw-dropping custom gown by Australian design powerhouse Leigh Buchanan. Leigh is an absolute wizard; we literally had one fitting for the dress and he delivered it to my dressing room an hour before curtain went up on opening night. When I stepped into it for the first time, I felt like I was Adele at the Academy Awards – it almost steals the entire show! My hairdresser Rebecca Hubbard styles my wigs and works tirelessly to recreate Adele’s signature looks. Once I’m fully dressed and waiting to step on stage, I honestly feel unstoppable.
On doing the music justice:
I think the most difficult thing is just the complexity of Adele’s songs. I mean they’re just really big songs and no one sings Adele like the woman herself. She is just phenomenal, easily the best voice in the last decade, maybe in my generation, and there won’t be anyone who beats that in terms of how talented and unique she is. The biggest challenge is taking on her songs and trying to do them justice.
On audience and critical acclaim:
We’re absolutely thrilled that audiences so far have connected so enthusiastically with this show. What started out as a laugh over wine between two friends has developed and matured into a wicked piece of theatre that we are exceptionally proud of. We’ve played some of the most iconic venues and companies in the country, including Sydney Opera House, Adelaide Cabaret Festival and Queensland Theatre Company. And it feels like this is just the beginning.