Dead Ringers Live plays at the Pleasance Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) until the 13th of August. The much loved impressions show, now approaching its 20th year since first airing, brings us the incredible performance and mimicry skills of John Culshaw, Jan Ravens, Lewis MacLeod and Duncan Wisbey.
Suitably, for a show that is now brought to us almost exclusively via the radio, the quartet choose to keep it simple. Four chairs, four microphone stands and a piano are all that adorn the stage. At first this gives the impression that we are being given voyeuristic access to the inner workings of the Dead Ringers when it is being recorded. As the the piece moves forward, it is more and more apparent that there is much more performing going on than might be necessary in the studio. Never more so than when the musically gifted Wisbey takes to the ivories to either sing us a humorous song or accompany someone else.
A slick and well rehearsed piece – with many of the most famous impressions coming to the performers with such well worn ease, it is reminiscent of slipping on a comfortable pair of slippers. They hit us with some of the classics: Theresa May, William Hague, Michael Gove, Nicola Sturgeon (which was going down well with the local audience) John Humphrys, Alan Bennett and at one point a Boris Johnson-off where Culshaw and MacLeod fought it out to see which BoJo, the statesman or the buffoon, would emerge triumphant and release their true personality. I won’t tell you who won.
Perhaps the two best impressions for me were a disturbingly Victorian version of Jacob Rees-Mogg from Duncan Wisbey and of course Lewis MacLeod’s pitch perfect Trump. That is not to take away from the obscenely talented Culshaw and Raven, without whom the show would miss their star quality. A thoroughly entertaining production, packs some satirical political punch and will leave you awestruck at the sheer versatility of the team.