Following last year’s sell out, Jess Robinson (Dead Ringers, Newzoids, Little Voice) is back with another hour of fun and mimicry.
The opener to the show is a reel of all the wonderful artists she can reproduce from Jessie J, to Lady Gaga to Lulu. An impressionist with an amazing skill for for mimicry, the show has the potential to be different every night, as Robinson spins two wheels: one with female artists and one with a list of songs to produce The Wheels of 64 Tunes.
From pop to Postman Pat, it provides potential for some amusing musical mash-ups including Robinson impersonating Duffy singing If I Were A Rich Man from Fiddler on the Roof to Lily Allen singing Shake It Off. Robinson’s rendition of Katherine Jenkins singing Tainted Love is truly superb, with her reaching Jenkins’ high notes with musical aplomb and accuracy.
Robinson is accompanied by her very talented best pal, Kirsty Newton, on keyboards, who acts as the comedic fall guy. Newton is an accomplished pianist with a voice to match and the pairing gels because of their genuine friendship.
Robinson interweaves the songs with anecdotal scripted banter with no celebrity being safe. Cheryl Cole, Cilla, Liza Minnelli and even Sonia from Eastenders reading from 50 Shades of Gray, receive the Robinson treatment.
Robinson also introduces us to the magical musical hair machine and is quick to point out this was her grandfather’s creation. Like something Caractacus Potts might have invented in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s a hairpiece switching between four “masks” allowing Robinson to sing Bowie, Elton John, to Shakira.
Her grandfather, Jules Ruben, a talented jazz musician, was obviously a great influence on Robinson, and the show finishes with a moving, sentimental tribute to him, as she sings along to her grandfather accompanying her on the piano, made possible (as he died in 2006) through the use of old film footage. It’s a slow, touching end to a fast paced hour of amazing mimicry and cheeky wit.
Born to entertain, if you missed Christina Bianco at Assembly, whose run finished on 16 Aug, Robinson will happily fill that gap and she’ll have you laughing all the way to the bar.