Sixty Minutes Inside Adele: Brisbane Cabaret Festival

Naomi Price Rumour Has It


She’s so big she only needs a first name…


You’re invited to spend an evening inside Adele: Grammy winner, mother-to-be, and Big Mac connoisseur. With the support of a five-piece band and a Primark maternity bra, Adele will roll in the deep down under, spilling intimate details about life on the road, love on the rocks, and the prick who took a sledge hammer to her heart.

This wickedly satirical new cabaret marries a modern-day music legend with one of Australia’s best-loved musical theatre imports, British chanteuse Naomi Price


We asked Naomi about a few things in the lead up to her latest show…


Naomi Price Adele

Are you slightly obsessed with Adele and her music?

I don’t know if obsessed is the right word – certainly her music has impacted me and has provided a soundtrack to moments of my life I will never forget. I have an enormous respect for Adele and her incredible songwriting abilities, and I truly believe she is THE voice of our generation. Maybe I’m just an extremely appreciative fan?


What is it about Adele that appeals?

She’s an intriguing person – someone that spills all in her songs and write with such incredible honesty and vulnerability, but then remains private about her personal life, even refusing to name the guy she wrote her album 21 about. That, to me, is a brilliant starting point for a piece – her music has impacted people in a way most artists will only dream of and yet we know very little about her.


Which other artists inspire you?

In terms of music/singing/songwriting: Amy Winehouse, John Mayer, Kimbra, Sara Bareilles

In terms of cabaret: Meow Meow, Lisa Adam, Queenie van de Zandt

In terms of everything else: anyone I am currently working with in Australia – I am so blessed to have these incredible artists around me who inspire me. So many friends and colleagues are kicking goals in the areas of writing, directing, performing, marketing, producing, forging a career in this intensely competitive industry. I look around at those who I stand beside and don’t need much more inspiration than that.


How much of this show is Adele and how much is Naomi Price?

Oh good question! I am going to say 90% Adele and 10% Naomi. All of it is my interpretation of Adele as a person – I have never met her – so of course it’s going to be largely based on my imagined version of her. However, in performing the show for the first time I discovered a weird and wonderful thing – Adam and I researched Adele so much that I felt as if I was speaking as her and not as myself, not just in the scripted moments but in the improvised moments too. It was quite a bizarre experience. I had expected to feel like myself onstage – wearing a wig and a fat suit – but actually I felt like she started to creep in a little bit.


What does that mean in terms of what we hear in the show?

I think that as a result of all the research we’ve done, and our genuine love of her music, you will hear a very honest voice in the show. Hopefully it will take people by surprise – I want to do her songs justice but I also want to capture an essence of who she is and what she has been through.


What sort of research did you undertake in the development of this piece?

Adam and I collected every biography we could get our hands on and would read excerpts aloud to one another, usually in some crude Cockney accent. What started out as a simple satire developed into a more poignant exploration of Adele – the more we read, the more we were astonished at how many remarkable things have happened to her in her relatively short life. We watched a million video clips of her online – interviews, tv appearances, live performances. It became wickedly apparent that her laugh would have to feature in the show – it’s quite distinctive! And she has a superb sense of humour, something which balances nicely with the vulnerability of her songs.


Adele has had a baby boy. How do you think having a child will influence her music and impact on her career?

I can’t speak from experience, but I would say from observation that having a child changes your perspective on what is truly important in life. I wouldn’t be surprised if she takes some time away from the insanity of her career to just enjoy motherhood. Having had a fractured upbringing herself, I would say that providing stability for her baby son would be something she would be quite fervent about. But of course – it’s all just guess work! I would think that the heartbreak songs might come to an end, for the time being at least…


Naomi Price

You’re currently not only a cabaret singer but also, a vocal teacher, independent producer and a shake&stir performer. How do you fit everything in?

With great difficulty! I feel so blessed to have performed every day this year with shake&stir, it’s been a challenging but rewarding experience. It’s rare to find a job where you will be required to not only play at least five different characters per performance and have two of them die during the course of the show, but also to be ready to do that at 8.30am in the morning! Luckily we’ve performed to some fantastic student audiences this year and their appreciation of what we do gives you the energy you need to keep doing it. I suppose the reason I like to do lots of different things is because I think I get bored easily if I’m only working on one project – I like performing Shakespeare every day, but I also like coaching my vocal students and gigging at the weekends. If I didn’t get to sing, I think I would feel lost.


What do you do when not performing, teaching or producing?

I love to cook. I have this extremely wonderful group of friends who end up at my house two or three times a week (if I’m lucky!) and I like to make food for them. And drink wine, and usually descend into hysterics. I also love to travel – I have been back to the UK twice in the past year, plus visited Germany, Switzerland and then travelled all over Australia this year. I love to find new places, discover amazing restaurants and see beautiful landscapes. If I could do anything for a living, it would be to travel around the world staying in incredible places and performing. So essentially – I want to be Celine Dion.


How did you get your start?

I was lucky enough to be born into a family where music was like our second language. We were encouraged to listen to symphonies and watch ballets and attend drama classes and learn instruments. My family is where I got my start, really. Thankfully my dad took me along to audition for a production of Annie when I was a scrappy 10-year-old tomboy and with a pat on the head, a Mars bar and a can of Coke, he left me there for the day surrounded by these perfect stage school girls with their hair neatly tied back and their proper dancewear. I got a letter the next week saying I had got into the show, and it was the first time I can remember feeling truly excited. I think I caught the bug right then and there!


Do you have any wise words for other artists who are multi-tasking like crazy to build the industry and pay the rent?

Diversify. That’s what Michael Futcher, a director and writer I greatly admire, told me two years ago and it has fuelled me to continue exploring what I can do. I try not to pigeon-hole myself as ‘a singer’ or ‘an actor’ or ‘a musical theatre performer’. I like to do lots of different things, and that’s how I’ve managed to keep going for so long. Entire years went by when I was working as a marketing manager and then general manager where I sat behind a desk looking scary and making things happen for others. I learned so much in that time. I learned that I love producing almost as much as I love performing.


What else have you done to pay the rent?

I worked in a coffee shop last year for five months after I lost my job working for a theatre company. I never thought I would go back to hospitality, especially when everything seemed like it was on a nice upwards trajectory. But sometimes the unexpected happens, and really it’s about how you respond to that. I was terrified about paying my rent and my bills, and was having a complete professional crisis, but some of my best friends in the world came into my life during that time. And it led me back to performing again, this time with shake&stir, which was the best thing I could have hoped for. I’ve also built content for websites, updated databases, and written for street press.


Will we see Adele travel?

You certainly will! She’s taking off to Sydney on November 14th for a one night only at Slide Lounge on Oxford Street, and then early next year she will be heading to Melbourne for a season at Chapel Off Chapel as part of StageArtXposed Festival. Then after that – who knows? I’d like to take her to my home town in the UK one day – that would be a dream come true.


After Adele what’s next?

I’m off on tour to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth with The Class of 69 in November – I am playing Petula Clark – and then producing a Christmas show starring Mirusia Louwerse, an ARIA-winning soprano, and Luke Kennedy from The Ten Tenors.


The Class of '69


What do you love about Brisbane, our venues and our audiences?

I love the sense of community. I know so many incredible artists here in Brisbane and that makes it feel like a large, dysfunctional, extended family. I love that on any given night of the week, I can go and see a play written by my friend, or catch an incredible gig, or watch one of my friends starring in a hugh musical. The diversity is fantastic, and I think Brisbane Festival is a great example of that. Over the three weeks, I basically ran into everyone I knew. Everyone comes out and supports one another – that’s what makes the arts scene in Brisbane thrive and flourish.


What do you want to see happen next, or continue to happen, in our state’s arts scene?

I want to see more homegrown musical theatre! I think it’s time for our state theatre company to tackle a musical. I’d also like to see the Brisbane arts community continuing to explore its identity – we have some brave arts makers in this town who take risks and push boundaries. I want to see them continue to succeed and excel, and take their work elsewhere in the country and overseas. I would also like to see more dedicated arts funding. Funding is a funny thing – I think it should be used wisely. It’s not our right as arts makers to receive funding to produce work – there’s no point programming a show that no one wants to see. But I’m all for funding providing a foundation for risk-takers to get their work out there.


Stockholm Syndrome is Brisbane’s hottest new cabaret space. Book NOW


Adele Naomi Price




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