When you think of female impressionists, two names come to mind. Broadway actress and YouTube sensation Christina Bianco and Jess Robinson. Jess is best known for playing the multi voiced character LV in the UK tour of Little Voice. In the show she impersonates a plethora of different voiced divas, from Judy Garland to Julie Andrews. Off the back of her success, she put together a one woman impressions show and took it to the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it had a sell out run. Jess Robinson returns to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year with her latest show ‘Impressive’.
Jess starts the show as the audience walk in, running around the auditorium, talking to people and setting the fun excitable vibe for the show. She jokes that if you don’t enjoy it, to tell people you went to see Christina Bianco!
Once the room is full, Jess starts the show with a packed song featuring 99 different impressions! That’s right. 99 impressions in around four minutes. This is nothing short of impressive, however the majority of the impressions only last a couple of seconds and so it is hard to gauge just how good a likeness they are. I would have rather just heard a fraction of those voices and had time to enjoy them.
Jess uses the show to talk about her recent divorce and takes the audience through the five steps of grief. It is great that she has found a way to talk about her personal life but the subject seemed a strange one to use for a musical impressions show.
The highlight of the night is when Jess repeatedly brings out her Natalie Cassidy impression skits (Sonia from Eastenders). These are brilliantly similar to the soap stars voice and really made me chuckle. Every impressionist has one voice they are the best at doing. Christina Bianco has Celine Dion and Jess Robinson has Natalie Cassidy.
Jess Robinson’s show ‘Impressive’ is a fun night out but doesn’t feel quite as polished as it could be. She is very talented and her in-character skits seem to be where her real talent lies and it would be nice to see more of this in the show.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
JESS ROBINSON: IMPRESSIVE plays at the Pleasance Courtyard until 28 August 2016