Nerine Skinner’s Origin Story - On The Mic


Hello, my name’s Liz Truss, I mean, Nerine Skinner. And I’m On the Mic.

It actually started when I was in musical theatre college. I trained doing musical theatre initially at Arts Ed in London. And I never really took it seriously, which is ridiculous, because it was so expensive, and I couldn’t afford the course.

There was this jazz assessment where they’re obviously marking our dance, and also our storytelling. And they asked us to put a narrative behind the dance. And I took it too far and decided that I should be a bank robber. I remember just getting so into the character that I went too far, and I went three times the speed of the actual music. And everyone was just looking at me really concerned in the room because it was in front of the rest of our class. And I then just got faster and faster, and then missed the rest of the assessment, failed the assessment because I finished too quickly and then fell over because I fell over my own feet.

And I just remember looking around thinking, I don’t know if I if this is my world, actually.


So how did you get from the dance class to the comedy club?

It just happened to be that I went around the corner, I think in my third year, and I saw a sign saying on the back of a pub saying “do you think you’re funny? Come and do five minutes”. And I thought I could give it a go. And then I started stand up, I think I must have been about 21 or so.

I started doing it and it was going really well. And then like a lot of things, because I trained in musical theatre, I thought I should probably focus on that… because I’ve got an agent now and that kind of thing.

So I stopped stand up. And I always think oh, if I if I’d have carried on at that time… hindsight is a great thing. But it took me another like 10 years or so, to come back and do it myself again. So I had a real hiatus. But in that time, I did some stuff with a comedy duo Franks & Skinner and a trio, The Dots.

So I went to Edinburgh and things but yeah, I, every time I pulled back and I went to do musical theatre or I went to do acting, I could never take it seriously. You know, I’d be that person that goes into an audition room and just, I just go too far. And I think it’s the character comedy that comes out, that I can’t control.


Right. So, when did you start doing impressions?

Weirdly, the impressions thing isn’t actually something I would say I do.

But I but I’ve ended up becoming that overnight, really, because I started doing Liz Truss parodies. Just because I looked a little bit like her. I would call myself a parodist really. I have kind of fallen into that, but I really enjoy it. But it is it is a weird thing, because it’s sort of something that’s only come about in the last couple of years, which I’m really enjoying. But yeah, impostor syndrome, when you’re trying to figure out whether that means you are now an impressionist.


So you did Liz Truss, and then she kind of, disappeared really as quickly as she came.

So I think after Liz, I started to do Boris Johnson and Nadine Dorries, and then they resigned. So I realised I must be a political hitman. So I thought, maybe I’ll just take some requests from people. So I do just kind of… if someone said, “Oh, maybe you should do them”.

And I think someone said Donald Trump and I thought you know what, I can’t do his voice at all. But yeah, all right, I’ll give it a go. Angela Rayner is another one. I just like when there’s a character, that’s such a strong character, that it makes it sort of easier, a really clear voice or mannerisms. Something about them that makes me feel like I can do something with that.


What would you say to Liz Truss if you met her?

Gosh, that’s such a good question. Um, I would probably ask her what her favourite cheese is. And I’d probably ask her if she’d seen my videos. I’ve got a theory that because I’ve done so much on her that I’m now developing some strange co-dependency with her. And that worries me. So I think I would have to take a list of questions to ask her to make sure that, you know, whether we would disagree and see if I am losing my mind.


So tell me about your Edinburgh show.

Well, can you guess it may be about Liz Truss? You guessed correctly! So it’s called Nerine Skinner, the Exorcism of Liz Truss.

And it’s about how… yes, I became known as Liz Truss, and it was all going well, and that lasted 49 days. And then my career was back to square one. So it tells a story through stand up, through characters, through some songs, some improvisation moments, sketches of me and my upbringing, as I go back and work out where these patterns, of near misses kind of happen… Moments where I’m getting… it’s going to happen, and then it doesn’t…

But also, just how do I find a way of removing Liz from inside me, because every character, I’ve done, you know, be it Boris Johnson and Nadine Dorries, or whoever, everyone just says, Oh, its Liz Truss still. They can’t see past Liz, you know, regardless of whether I’ve got a wig on.

And also, that I developed a career as a political satirist when I also do lots of other original characters. So, I’m using all the other characters like self-help gurus or people who come in to try and help me exorcise Liz.

So yeah, I’m an indecisive person as well. I’ve always struggled to make decisions, which, again, Liz kind of backtracks on her choices. So, there’s this co-dependency that’s going on and I’m trying to work out where that’s come from, and what that is about me?

So yes, trying to find a way out from Liz, basically.


So this is your first solo show in Edinburgh?

Yeah, yeah. So I’ve wanted to do it for years and years. And obviously financially, it’s a nightmare up in Edinburgh. I’ve kind of put it off for that reason, but when I’ve done it as a group, obviously you split the costs and everything. And the opportunities presented themselves at the time, so it felt good, but I kept saying, “Oh, next year, I’m gonna go next year. I’m gonna go”. I think I did that for about nine years. And when all of this stuff  kicked off and I thought, “if I don’t do it now, I probably won’t do it.”

So yeah, I’m forcing myself to just go for it and it’ll be my first solo show.


Great talking to you Nerine. Plug your show one more time.

It’s called Nerine Skinner: The Exorcism of Liz Truss

It’s on at Just the Tonic: The Caves – Just Out of the Box at 2:40pm daily from the 2nd to the 26th August (apart from 12th).

I would love to see you there. It’s my debut show.


Image by Steve Ullathorne

Nerine’s Profile and Social Media HERE

Edinburgh Fringe Website HERE

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