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The Mash Report’s Rachel Parris Poised to make an impact with new touring comedy

BAFTA-nominated comedian, actress and presenter Rachel Parris, best known for her work on The Mash Report and Late Night Mash, is touring the UK and Ireland with her new show Poise.

Poise is set to be Rachel’s biggest live tour to date, following her previous efforts All Change Please and It’s Fun to Pretend. The tour comes to the Cambridge Corn Exchange in September.

Rachel Parris. Picture: Karla Gowlett
Rachel Parris. Picture: Karla Gowlett

Rachel, who is married to fellow comic Marcus Brigstocke, spoke to the Cambridge Independent from a hotel room in Lincoln, the day after a gig in the city and ahead of a show in Peterborough later that day.

How is the tour going? “Great, thanks,” she replies, “I’ve done about 10 or 11 tour dates now, so I’m well into it.

“I’m actually at the ‘sweet spot’, where you know the show well, you’ve smoothed the show out, it’s in really good shape but also you’re not bored of it!”

Elaborating on Poise, Rachel says: “Poise is a show about asking the big questions, at a pinnacle point in your life.

“So I’m turning 40 this year… and obviously we’ve got the election coming up, which I was aware of when I started writing the show, so I knew there would be change afoot during the show.

“So it’s about contemplating where you’re at as you hit officially middle age, and find yourself a bit in traditional roles that you never thought you’d be in.

“So I talk about parenthood and living the kind of life where you go to farmers’ markets now and have a skincare routine – and you never thought you’d be that person.”

Rachel never thought she’d be a parent? “No… I mean I hoped to but I think I just wasn’t sure that that would happen for me, just because of circumstances.

“And it’s been a difficult route to get there, like it is for so many people, so it’s also celebrating that.”

Rachel’s viral satirical segments on The Mash Report and Late Night Mash have amassed more than 100 million views, and she is also one of the founding cast members of acclaimed improv group Austentatious, which has toured nationally, enjoyed sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe, and has a weekly West End residency.

She hopes that Poise has “something in it for everyone”, adding: “I’ve even had Conservative voters at the show, who have enjoyed it, and I absolutely acknowledge them in the show.

“I think that there’s probably a lot in there for people who are like me, ‘geriatric millennials’, parents, grown-up women, and parents of teenagers, because I’m also looking ahead to Gen Z – I’ve got two stepkids, who are 19 and 20. I talk a bit about them.

“So hopefully there’s a bit of something for everyone but I will say, if you’re a woman of about my age, there’s going to be a lot there for you!”

Rachel Parris live. Picture: Paul Gilbey
Rachel Parris live. Picture: Paul Gilbey

Rachel, a great admirer of Victoria Wood (“I think she probably had a big influence on my songwriting and performance”), adds: “I think it’s interesting to talk about the fact that the show is a mix of songs and stand-up and satire, because quite a lot of the audiences who come know me best from The Mash Report.

“They know that I’m going to do a bit of stand-up about politics, but actually musical comedy is where I started and what I’ve always done, in terms of live work.

“So that’s my home, that’s what I’m used to doing, that’s what I normally do, so I would hope that audiences would be happy to have a bit of variety in the show.”

In 2022, Rachel published her first book Advice from Strangers: Everything I Know from People I Don’t Know, which was praised by Richard Osman as “warm, witty and wise”.

Her TV appearances include Live at the Apollo, QI, Would I Lie to You, Mock the Week, Richard Osman’s House of Games, and The Graham Norton Show.

Rachel is also a regular on popular Radio 4 show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. As an actress, Rachel has featured in, among other things, There She Goes, Plebs, The IT Crowd, and Count Arthur Strong.

Rachel Parris. Picture: Karla Gowlett
Rachel Parris. Picture: Karla Gowlett

See Rachel live on stage at the Cambridge Corn Exchange on Friday, 13 September. Tickets, priced £24 and £21, are available from cornex.co.uk. For more on Rachel, go to rachelontour.com.

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