The LipSinkers are the totally gorgeous, totally amazing drag cabaret troupe who take over the RVT on the first Friday on the month. They are camp, cultish and celebrating 10 years in showbiz, so Dave Cross had a catch up with some of the team to find out more.
How would you describe the LipSinkers to someone who has never seen them?
Richardette: The Erotic Review once called us “professional and hideous, a marimba of joy” which I’m fond of.
Rhys Hollis: Bat-shit crazy and thoroughly entertaining.
Steve Nice: Like a cat on heat stuck in a moving car.
Blanche du Bois: The LipSinkers are a crossover theatre-cabaret company. We lip sync to a variety of songs and spoken word using physicality, comedy and absurdism alongside tightly choreographed routines through raw happenings in situ. All of the above happens while dressing up and getting naked, we are fully contoured and fully smudged.
Can you give us a brief history of the troupe?
Richardette: We were put together to cover vacant weekend slots at an East London cabaret in 2006, though Lisa Lee and I had been working on performance together since we met in 1996. In 2012 we moved south to be based at The RVT which we are immensely proud and deeply honoured to be able to call home. We’ve cracked four sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe with five star reviews from The Times, The Scotsman and Time Out.
Who’s in the group at present?
Richardette: Currently we are Blanche du Bois, Rhys Hollis, Lisa Lee, Steve Nice, me and Thom Shaw with regular contributors former Bloo-Lip, Lavinia Co-Op, Shakespearean art scholar, Mr Teds and James O’Riordan as Smelly-Mae.
What goes on in a ‘typical’ LipSinkers show?
Richette: Pop and politics, danger and dance, flesh and fantasy, mime, mess, claps and curtains!
Steve Nice: During the first half we seize control of the means of production. During the second half Blanche takes her clothes off.
What draws you to a particular song or piece of dialogue for a routine?
Rhys Hollis: My favourite numbers are the ones that take a track and do something clever with it and/or you can see that the sinker performing it can really get their teeth into it.
Thom Shaw: We’re all kind of music sluts and listen to new and different stuff constantly. There’s a fair bit of playing stuff to each other and trying to gauge whether the others are turned on or bored by it. There are late night cider fuelled Spotify sessions where ideas may or may not seem like such a good idea in the cold light of day. It’s good to listen with fresh ears. We have a thing for a band called The Lovely Eggs, for musicals and for Brit-pop it seems, but sometimes a track that we all theoretically dislike becomes a hit once we’ve bashed it into our own shape.
At your monthly RVT residency, you follow your show with a club night, can you tell us about that?
Richardette: This has grown into such a great event. We actually start the whole evening at 9pm with DJ Dawn Amber Harvey who also techs our show. At 9:50pm it’s a new feature called OTT(on the thrust), where we invite someone we’ve seen out about that excited us to perform a 10 minute slot in front of the curtains. Post show David (Dolly) Robson takes us somewhere stratospheric with two hours of disco and pop followed by our latest addition Gareth Hackney. There are pop up go-go sessions often leaving very little to the imagination. There’s a terrific buzz inside the Tavern, regulars catching up and chewing the fat over a fag outside and of course the amazing Tavern staff who are both the icing on the cake and the cherry on top!
Steve Nice: Non-stop poppers o’clock. If you’re really lucky David Robson will take his top off.