Spotlight On… Cabaret Legend, Adele Anderson

Adele Anderson is well known as one of the glorious trio that are Fascinating Aida. The girls have all worked on solo performances this year and I was delighted to hear that Adele is also giving the opportunity for us to see her in a few solo engagements. I chatted to Adele about her forthcoming appearances:

Thank you for talking to Break A Leg, tell me about your forthcoming solo performances.

I am appearing at The Phoenix Arts Club, Charing Cross Road, on Sunday 16 October, to talk to Sarah-Jane Weston about my show at The Pheasantry. Jessica Martin will be a fellow guest. Then, on 20, 21 & 22 October, I shall be performing my show Gloomy Sunday at The Pheasantry, with West End MD Dean Austin on piano. The show features songs of disappointment, depression and death, but it’s still an amusing show. There are two Fascinating Aida numbers in the show, but the rest of the songs are by a variety of songwriters, including Cole Porter, Randy Newman and even Fairport Convention.

Are there any numbers in there that are your absolute favourites?

One is a Fascinating Aida number called “Jealousy”. I performed it back in the 1980s and it’s never made it back into the show. It’s ideal for my voice and has a very powerful message. Another favourite, “Blue Shadowed Eyes”, is by Chris Burgess and Sarah Travis. Sarah is the only woman ever to win a Tony Award for orchestral arrangements for her work on Sweeney Todd, which began at The Watermill, Newbury and ended up on Broadway.

What’s the highlight of a show like this, for you?

Strangely, it’s getting to the end of a song and hearing a silence while the audience digest what they’ve heard – and then the clapping starts. Then I know they’ve felt the song as deeply as I have.

How do you feel when performing solo as opposed to with the girls?

I never get nervous when I’m with the girls because, if anything goes wrong, I know they’ll come to my rescue and we can turn the mistake into something funny. This show has a much more serious content and so I’m not exactly nervous, but I am concerned not to make any mistakes. Solo work has a very different dynamic; there really is nowhere to hide. I prefer being part of a threesome, but it’s also refreshing to step outside from time to time.

Have you any particular favourite venues to perform at?

I’ve not performed as a solo artist for a very long time. This show has only been seen so far at Crazy Coqs, which is a glorious venue. I’ve played The Pheasantry with Fascinating Aida so I’m familiar with that venue. The most exotic venue I’ve played solo is a very chic restaurant in Hong Kong. It was in the early ‘90s, before the handover and the island was quite a wild, hedonistic place back then.

What’s the most fascinating review you’ve ever received?

My favourite review was in South Africa, for Fascinating Aida. It was something along the lines of “They sing beautifully and do something that resembles dancing”. We still laugh about that, because it’s true!

What would you say to encourage people to come and see you?

A show entitled Gloomy Sunday sounds offputting but I can assure you that you will leave the show feeling uplifted. I sing the middle part in Fascinating Aida, which uses a fairly small part of my voice, so now’s your chance to hear what I can do vocally on my own.

Thank you so much for a lovely interview, Adele, wishing you all the very best with your solo shows!

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