Next Friday (9 Mar) the brilliant Ripley will be back at The RVT. This amazing ‘endurance lip-syncer’ is unlike anyone else you’ve ever seen and the funniest political show we’ve seen since Spitting Image. Dave Cross met up with the Scottish sensation to find out more about this new show called Top Trumps.
Hi Ripley, you are back at The RVT next week, how did the first couple of shows go there?
I am indeed. The first shows went really well. They attracted a mixed crowd and the positive reaction was overwhelming. My fondest memory so far is performing Papa Don’t Preach dressed as Arlene Foster in front of a montage of pro-choice protests. During the number, a woman in the audience started screaming because one of the images was of her! What are the chances? Such a small world…
For anyone who hasn’t seen your act, how would you describe what you do?
In a nutshell: I’m an endurance lip-syncer. My shows are 100% lip-synced from start to end, mostly along to my own voice. I’m in love with the art of mime and I like to question the authenticity of what people consider a ‘live’ performance.
This show is the next in your Like A Sturgeon series, what’s the idea behind the shows?
Like A Sturgeon is a celebration of women in politics across all spectrums. The show delves into their psyches and lays bare the ideologies, hypocrisies, passions fears of the women who are shaping the world. It’s also just an opportunity for me to pay tribute to my Madonna, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
We’ve already seen Nicola and other European power women but I’m guessing that Top Trumps will be looking towards America?
The new show focuses almost entirely on US politics and everything that comes with it: collusion with Russia, toxic masculinity, nepotism, misogyny, war. But it will also touch on the difficult position the UK is in. We have to condemn Trump’s actions but at the same time we’re about to leave the EU and the US will be one of our most important allies. It all sounds serious but it’ll be CAMP, I promise!
The Trumps, America’s first family, are they just the comedy gift from heaven?
The Trumps are as terrifying as they are hilarious. Each one of them is a walking, talking caricature and everything they do provides me with tonnes of material.
And POTUS owns a golf course in Scotland and is from a Scottish family – will we hear what Nicola thinks?
Nicola’s definitely got a swing on her. She might even get a birdie on the night. Is that proper golf talk? As for Donald’s Scottish heritage – Trump said he doesn’t want immigrants coming from ‘shit holes’ but his maw is from the Isle of Lewis. I’ll say no more.
We live in ‘interesting times’ with the news cycle moving at light speed – how do you decide what goes in a show?
I’m sometimes changing material last minute (thanks, Theresa May, for that snap election last year), but it all depends on the ‘seriousness’ of the news. A lot of it is fake anyway. If it’s been written by the Daily Mail, it’s not in my show.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
I’m going to take everyone’s advice and hit the Edinburgh Fringe. It makes perfect sense. And if I go, I’ll be performing not only in my hometown, but on Nicola Sturgeon’s doorstep.