Edinburgh Review: Adele Is Younger Than Us

Edinburgh Review: Adele Is Younger Than Us

If we measure our success as a ratio to our age, we may as well all top ourselves now and be done with it. Adele, 29 years old, is the yardstick by which Stiff and Kitsch measure their achievements – there is no comparison. Not only less successful, but also older than Adele, Sally O’Leary and Rhiannon Neads are not faring well. Adele Is Younger Than Us is their attempt to address the imbalance – a tongue in cheek look at how they can be as famous as the world’s greatest heartbreak composer. It’s tricky when they’ve never been in love.

O’Leary and Neads are a hilarious double act – realistic, down to earth and keen observers of the many problems that face us twenty-somethings when looking for love in a world that only accepts physical perfection. Us imperfect few, we end up in the friend zone – we have dates that don’t end in being kissed, or spoon the man of our dreams as friends without ever getting fucked. We are the nerds of the world, those that get drunk and epitomise the opposite of sexy – twice the chins do not equal twice the fun. We regret sending drunken messages the day after when we profess our love to the unattainable objects of our desires – O’Leary and Neads speak for the people.

Most importantly, O’Leary and Neads have chemistry, comic timing and complete synchronicity with each other. This duo is able to riff spontaneously without it ever feeling unintentionally awkward or stunted – Adele Is Younger Than Us has a reassuring fluidity that lets us settle in for the ride. But then, they both get boyfriends. They turn into the people they hate, the ones that think they aren’t constantly cooing over their beaux, when in fact they lose all sense of self.

But even then, O’Leary and Neads recognise the disparity between the perfect relationship and the reality. Rom-coms set us up to fail, as they adeptly point out with startling accuracy and quick-witted lyricism. Falling in love is much like falling into a ditch… A metaphor that Neads employs unsuccessfully, but that makes for a hilarious story and segue into another amusing, self-deprecating song.

Whether single or taken, Adele Is Younger Than Us is a reminder that we are all inferior to Adele. But there’s no point worrying about that, or about being single/ in a relationship. Regardless of your Facebook status, you will always worry about something. A letter to their past selves reminds O’Leary and Neads to enjoy life more and relax the pressure of their own expectations. 1,000 metaphors for love, a hilarious way to realise that it’s all smoke and mirrors to fluff up being in love to a faux state of bliss. O’Leary and Neads are the reality check that we all sometimes need.


Adele Is Younger Than Us plays Pleasance Dome as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 27 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.

Follow the link for an interview with creators Sally O’Leary and Rhiannon Neads.