Pippa Evans is a British comedian, known for her work in character and improvisational comedy. Having studied Drama and Theatre Arts at Birmingham University, she became a member of Scratch improvisation comedy troupe, and appeared in Newsrevue, a topical comedy show at London’s Canal Cafe Theatre. In 2008, she gained second place in the annual Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition.
Her major breakthrough came as she made her solo debut at the 2008 Edinburgh Festival Fringe with Pippa Evans and Other Lonely People, playing a number of different characters at a self-help group meeting. Evans received positive reviews from the press, with The Scotsman citing her as “wicked and dark, with few gimmicks”. She subsequently gained a nomination for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, before performing the show at London’s Soho Theatre for a limited season.
Evans’ best known stage character is Loretta Maine, a disturbed American singer-songwriter described by The Guardian newspaper as “Dolly Parton seen through the lens of Mike Leigh”. The character of Maine has established Evans as a popular headliner on the London comedy club circuit. In 2009 she performed on the BBC Radio 4 series Arthur Smith’s Balham Bash as Loretta Maine.
She returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2009 with another show titled Pippa Evans: Your Evening’s Entertainment, a variety show for an imagined audience of conference delegates where Evans plays all the characters. In an interview with The Scotsman, Evans revealed “I was brought up with old time music halls and doing pantos in church halls… it was a big part of my background that always appealed to me”. The show was again warmly received but it was the character of Loretta Maine which critics highlighted unequivocally. In November 2009 she curated and hosted Pippa’s Old Time New Time Music Hall at the Canal Cafe Theatre, introducing audiences to her contemporaries Angelos Epithemiou, the Penny Dreadfuls and Wilfredo in a satire on the tradition of music hall.
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