Though now a household name thanks to a semi-final place in last year’s Britain’s Got Talent, singing impressionist Jess Robinson is a familiar face of the Fringe. Since her 2014 show Mighty Voice, she’s been a regular fixture of the Pleasance but this year the act has a new home in the Spiegeltents of the Assembly Garden.
Classic style and glamour with a pop-culture twist
It’s a setting that well suits Robinson’s personality and act - a classic style and glamour with a pop-culture twist. Kicking off with a crowd-warming, original number of her own, Robinson is straight into the character voices. Old favourites like Britney Spears and Shirley Bassey are joined by new voices such as Holly Willoughby while characters like Nicki Minaj and even Natalie Cassidy get their own original feature songs.
However, polished as the impressions are, the really impressive parts of the show are the improvised sections when we get to see the craft behind the act. This year it’s 'Celebrity Beach Volleyball' - the vocalist picked by throwing a huge ball around the audience, the song picked at random - the only place you could realistically expect to hear Shirley Bassey singing Bat Out Of Hell. My personal highlight, however, was Six Degrees of Theresa May - a tour-de-force of vocal and satirical technique that’s extremely impressive to see unfolding before your eyes.
The show’s only real problem is, ironically, one of pitching. Robinson’s sharp wit and vocal talent are material enough to easily carry an hour but, perhaps in order to please the widest possible audience, they’re placed awkwardly alongside knob jokes and blue humour that it feels like even Robinson herself isn’t 100% sold on. Whilst not spoiling enjoyment of the show, these sections take up real estate that could be used to showcase more of the talent that makes the rest of the show as enjoyable as it is.
Nevertheless, Jess Robinson is a talented comedian wrapped in a magnetic stage presence, powered by one hell of a voice. Whatever your day at the Fringe has involved - theatre, stand-up, Ukranian puppet-mime - a trip to No Filter should guarantee you’ll end it with a smile.