If you saw the 11th series of Britain’s Got Talent, you might know that Jess Robinson is a very talented impressionist, whose repertoire ranges from Shakira to Shirley Bassey to Sonya from Eastenders. However, the voice that stars in Jess Robinson’s new show is very much her own.
We learn about her childhood growing up in Aldbury, her dreams about being a performer, and her relationship with her Grandmother Rosie. These stories are interspersed with songs which show off her immense vocal range.
It’s the songs which are the highlight of the show and get the biggest laughs. Highlights include a version of ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born performed by the three female leads of the three versions of the film, and how they might interact, and also a song about Kate Bush appearing to her in a dream, which includes the most dead-on impression of Kate Bush I’ve ever seen. She also performs a hip-hop song about being ‘Straight Outta Aldbury’. Rapping about being white and middle-class isn’t exactly a new concept, but it’s still a very funny, well-constructed performance.
Her personal tales are interesting and endearing, though some of the jokes punctuated throughout awkwardly shift between gentle and off-colour, as if she’s unsure of what tone she’s trying to set.
At the end of the set, we learn that the Grandma Rosie we heard so much about is no longer with us, and the stories about her pay off with a touching tribute to her and her life. Robinson sings ‘The Impossible Dream’ completely straight, an unexpected but very moving ending to the show, and a reminder of Robinson’s raw talent, even ignoring the comedy, writing and impressions. Overall the show is a comfortable, enjoyable hour, but the brilliantly crafted moments only hint at what could be something really, really special.