Actress, impressionist, singer and voiceover artist, Jess Robinson, has appeared on stage and screen. Here Mattie Lacey-Davidson speaks to her ahead of headlining The Salon Comedy Club at Henley Festival on Thursday (July 7). 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a gorgeous little village in Hertfordshire, called Aldbury.

Tell me about the area and growing up there?

Aldbury is traditional English village, with a beautiful church where (despite being Jewish), I grew up singing in the choir and my mum to this day (being the village piano teacher), plays the organ. It was a quiet but idyllic childhood; mostly spent outdoors, playing in the woods or on the village green. By the time I was 14 though, I was frustrated at having to rely on the mum and dad taxi service to take me into the local town to see my friends.

Where do you live now?

The cultural melting pot that is North London. Finchley to be exact. I love it, but it’s always good to escape back to Aldbury!

How old are you?


Were you always interested in performance?

Definitely, but I never meant to do it as a career… My whole family are artistic or creative in some way, but they often struggled to make ends meet. At one point I was determined to be a doctor, but that lasted about a week... singing and making people laugh always won over.

When did you realise you could impersonate people with the skill that you can?

I wasn’t very popular at school, but then realised I could make the kids laugh by impersonating teachers and classmates. Typical class clown story I’m afraid.

How have you used your various talents to make your career today?

A lot of hard work and a huge amount of luck. I got my break when I somehow wangled my way into the last couple of series of Dead Ringers when it was on TV. Now, I spend my days ‘doing silly voices’ for various cartoons and adverts. In the evenings, I’m usually performing on the comedy and cabaret circuit.

What can people at Henley Festival expect from your performance?

I’m a trained singer so, as well as Cheryl Cole, Kim Kardashian, Mary Berry and all my speaking impressions, I’m going to treat you to what I do best; the singing voices of today’s global pop divas, including Beyoncé, Paloma Faith and Nicki Minaj – as well as classic vintage stars, such as Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. We’ll travel via Kate Bush and a spine-tingling Amy Winehouse and of course make the obligatory pilgrimage to Adele.

I also have a secret very special guest joining me – you’re in for a treat!!

What’s next for you?

I’m off to the Edinburgh Festival with my live fourpiece band and new show ‘Impressive’… Do you have any other talents to reveal in the future?

Umm… I think I’ll just stick with my voices for now. They take up most of my time and they’re always in my head…

What would you be doing if not this?

I think I’d be a therapist or psychiatrist. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick.

Any other information or anecdotes you can share?

This is my first time at The Henley Festival. I’m so excited to perform for everyone. Next year, I hope to be back with my full show and my incredible live band! Watch this space… 

Jess will perform at The Salon Comedy Club on Thursday, July 7, 10.45pm. Henley Festival, on the riverbanks, Henley on Thames, Wednesday, July 6 until Sunday, July 10. Details: 01491 843 400