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The Irrepressibles (London, UK)

The Irrepressibles take performance to the next level with costumes made of mirrors and origami.

The Irrepressibles are one of those outfits that take the notion of theatrical performance pretty damn seriously. Imagine attending a raucous knees-up in a 17th-century Transylvanian brothel, with a live soundtrack supplied by a surrealist circus troupe whose aesthetic veers from the far-out reaches of The Dirty Projectors to the kind of traditional folk the RSC trot out. That’s right, it’s pretty out there. Sure, it could be argued that they have, to some degree, taken their lead (and image) from the now defunct Menlo Park, and that they edge dangerously close to the totally ridiculous, but The Irrepressibles are none the worse for that –after all, as the dandy highwayman Adam Ant sagely noted, “Ridicule is nothing to be scared of!” We caught up with the troupe’s caterwauling, make-up-loving ringleader Jamie McDermott to find out more…



…so special about you guys, then?
We're unashamed, flamboyant, fantastical and emotionally intense – a performance orchestra that is purportedly "fronted by a man who sounds like the ghosts of Billy McKenzie and Jeff Buckley".
...the first line of your manifesto?
Play! Through all worlds of the senses!

…so scary about clowns?
The thing that’s so scary about all of us.

…the best piece of advice you've heard?
Put it away!

…the greatest record ever made?
No such thing.

…better, analogue or digital?
We use both. We’re an orchestra featuring electronic manipulation by sound artist William Turner-Duffin. He transforms my counter tenor warble into birdsong and orchestral instruments into electronic insects.

…your favourite piece of clothing
Any of the fantastic costumes that have been made for me for the various spectacles we've performed. From costumes completely made of mirrors to origami paper feats – I love, love, love them.

…the name of your hero?
So many… Grace Jones, Bill Drummond, Kate Bush...

…so special about your heroes?
They all made a 'noise' both musically and visually.

…your favourite instrument?
All of them, it's all about context.

…your worst fashion secret?
I don't pretend to be fashionable.

…this year going to bring?
Our EP followed by the debut album, plus two major shows at the V&A and the LATTITUDE festival, in June and July respectively.

….your favourite website?
Now, you wouldn't want to know that!

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