Rumour Has It (The Little Red Company)
Brisbane Powerhouse, Powerhouse Theatre
January 13 – 14
It is not often that Camerata audiences get to hear the Queensland Chamber Orchestra audience sharing Spice Girls songs. But that is exactly what happens (in cheeky mashup with ‘Chasing Pavements’) in “Rumour Has It”, the show that charts the incredible rise international superstar Adele live in story and song.
And that’s not even the best thing about it! The cabaret sees stage and television star Naomi Price inhabits the role of the working class diva in voice, mannerisms, down-to-earth persona and deliciously frank humour. Not only is she vocally superb in share of all range of the songstress’ catalogue of contemporary music hits, but also on-point in accent and incredibility witty, especially in her sassy on-spec responses to audience reactions and contributions concerning their own first loves. The result is an absolutely entertaining experience, like an Albert Hall gala, with a whole lot of swearing (there is an all-ages matinee as part of the show’s epic encore Brisbane season).
The award winning cabaret, created by Price and Adam Brunes, has had many previous outings. In the biggest ‘House of Power’ space, there is less intimacy, especially to delicate numbers like ‘Daydreamer’, during which she sits centre stage alongside guitarist Jason McGregor as bubbles try to fill the Powerhouse Theatre. Jason Glenwright’s lighting continues to create both a lush aesthetic and cozy accompaniment to the ambiance of upturned lamp-shade hanging from the ceiling. And although some jokes remain the same, such as comparisons between the Grammy-winning songstres’ Tottenham home town and certain South East Queensland suburbs, they are just as funny.
There is an obvious freshness to the updated show with inclusion of new numbers from Adele’s latest album and between-song banter to reflect the current U.S. political climate. The biggest addition is that of the stylish Camerata strings, which, thanks to Andrew Johnson’s arrangements, creates the ultimate version of the show. Although it is unfortunate to have their sound overpowered in Act One numbers like ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and ‘Right As Rain’, Act Two affords a greater chance for them to shine, particularly in its spectacular opener of the Oscar-winning, Shirley Bassey-inspired ‘Skyfall’.
The musical accompaniment (including vocalists Rachel Everett-Jones, Lai Utouvou, and Price’s partner Luke Kennedy) is first class and the individual acknowledgement that occurs as part of an ‘Adele Mega-Mix 3000’ extended encore is not only appreciated by the audience, but serves a show highlight, particularly when patient pianist Michael Manikus makes infectious share his masterful technique.
“Rumour Has It” is a fabulous tour de force of a show that continues to develop and deliver even for return audiences. Its 2+ hours duration flies by (#inagoodway) but also enraptures everyone in its haunting ballads, such as the vintage heartbreaking honesty of ‘Someone Like You’. It is only appropriate the revamped work be taken on the road on national tour following its Brisbane Powerhouse shows, to share its joyously entertaining celebration of the life and music of the megastar soul sensation that is Adele.
Photos c/o – Joel Devereux