Adele is Younger Than Us

Mon 7th – Sun 27th August 2017


Clarissa Mayhew

at 11:24 on 17th Aug 2017



Sally O’Leary and Rhiannon Neads (under the name Stiff & Kitsch) are hysterically funny (literally the only comedy this week I have actually spontaneously laughed in) as they introduce us to the trials of trying to write a love song with the unfortunate disadvantage of having minimal (read no) actual experience in love.

Accompanied on the keyboard by James Taylor as Musical Director, Sally and Rhiannon sing about 21st century romantic frustration as they compare their (lack of) love lives to the glossy myths of popular culture. Under the rather unhelpful and self important guidance of the voice of Adele, bizarrely disembodied through the speaker system, as their modern day muse and teacher, the girls set out on a musical adventure of self discovery.

Unlike oh-so-smooth Adele, Sally and Rhiannon’s chirpses and flirtations are marred by the intrusion of pasties in clubs and unwieldy granny pants (actual granny pants - ‘vintage’ as Rhiannon calls them) - real, unsexy chronic life. From compulsive boasting about first boyfriends (‘did I mention my BOYFRIEND’) to the elusivity of the female orgasm, their self-deprecating commentary on their misadventures is hilarious, fast-paced and relevant as they mock their own journeys into experience through friend-zones, first boyfriends and the disappointing but self-affirming revelation that boyfriends aren’t in fact life’s panacea.

The boyfriends that finally emerge notably lack personalities (granted they are perhaps at a disadvantage being no more than the girls themselves now dressed in beanie hats) and utterly uninteresting: this is a show less about boyfriends than the feeling of the pressing weight (however sillily) of one’s relationship status on one’s sense of self identity.

Sally and Rhiannon’s voices are beautifully clear and their accents, Irish and Bath respectively, are charming as they play up to the absence of interesting musical inspiration each of their sleepy hometowns provide. The costumes of each are full of personality - Rhiannon’s red cord pinafore dress & t shirt combo with maroon Dr Martens is a classic uniform of the 2016 indie girl.

Funny, sweet and relatable - the final song seems to summarise the whole show in affirming that whatever your weirdness ‘That’s Ok’ in a truly comic celebration of female quirkiness.


Claire Leibovich

at 18:55 on 17th Aug 2017



‘Adele Is Younger Than Us’ is a musical stand-up by the duo Stiff & Kitsch (Rhiannon Neads and Sally O’Leary off-stage) which, while presenting an unoriginal coming of age story, will treat you to delightful music and make you laugh whole-heartedly (a rare feat at the Fringe).

Sally and Rhiannon admire the singer Adele and aspire to be like her. They want that feeling of self-actualization they assume Adele has achieved. The problem, according to them, is that they are nothing like her. Throughout the play, Adele’s voice plays as a voice-over and, like a sort of deity, gives the girls advice about how to lead their lives. They come from boring towns and have absolutely no romantic experience to write songs about. Thus the girls set out on a hilarious quest to get boyfriends, going through all the ordeals of awkwardness, drunkenness, insecurities and granny pants. The comedy is predictable, from the ‘basic bitch’ impersonation (pretty but silly blonde girl obsessed with selfies, Instagram and vegetarianism) to the eternal friendzone problem or girls who always mention they have a boyfriend. Yet that did not make make the show less enjoyable.

What makes the show is in fact the music and the performers. O’Leary and Neads are extremely talented singers (and flautist in the cas of Neads) and take possession of the stage with their strong, contrasting personalities. Their energy and enthusiasm are communicated and their impersonations are brilliantly funny; with a beanie, a cap, a bowler hat or ridiculously customised glasses and they jump into character. The music flows nicely and never becomes tiresome thanks to the Musical Director James Taylor.

I don’t think it would be a spoiler to say that the girls come to expected realisation that it’s ok to not be like Adele slash have perfect lives because we are good as we are and, at the end of the day, we are all in the same boat. On the whole, ‘Adele Is Younger Than Us’ assumes it’s cliched moral which allows it be a successful feel-good show. Stiff & Kitsch will bring your spirits up and make you want to see their other shows.


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