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Luke Kempner – Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical

Luke Kempner has built up a reputation of being an impressionist – his impression of Andy Murray (not yet knighted at the time) being “really excited” to be at the Wimbledon Championships but saying so in a monotonous tone is still lodged in my memory, some years after I saw and heard it. I barely watch any television these days, so I know nothing about Luther, Line of Duty, or Happy Valley (the first time I heard someone refer to Happy Valley, I thought they were talking about yoghurt – which is, of course, Yeo Valley), but it was evident from the hysterical reactions of almost everyone else in the room that the impression of, say, Adrian Dunbar’s Ted Hastings, was spot on.

Luke Kempner - Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical.
Luke Kempner – Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical.

I was too busy enjoying the quick-paced proceedings, absurd as they occasionally became, to bother attempting to keep a tally to see if Kempner really did manage sixty impressions in sixty minutes. At the heart of the ‘police drama’, which the venue had emailed ticket bookers about to clarify a ‘content warning’ of ‘flashing lights’, was a fantastical investigation into the murder of a certain celebrity – I’m not ashamed to admit I was amongst those who let out a cheer when the ‘deceased’ person was revealed.

Switching between characters at the brisk speed required to create convincing conversations, Kempner works bloody hard – this isn’t a set of duologues, with multiple people wading in to any given scene. There’s a decent range of recognisable voices, and I loved the sheer energy involved in impersonating Michael McIntyre. Gary Lineker, on the other hand, counts as one of the sixty but only has a couple of lines because, Kempner concludes, his voice is rather boring.

There were modified lyrics to showtunes such as ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked, ‘This Is Me’ from the motion picture The Greatest Showman and a particularly impressive rendering of a modified ‘All I Ask of You’ from The Phantom of the Opera, which sees Kempner take on both the male and female roles. All the songs drive the narrative forward. The sheer number of characters requires one’s concentration, but that’s easy when there’s so much fun going on. From Donald Trump to Sir Ian McKellen, Sir David Attenborough (confident, authoritative) to Louis Theroux (nervous, unsure).

There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this whirlwind experience. Full marks, then, for a highly entertaining hour of impressions, punchlines, storytelling and musical theatre.

5 Star Rating

Review by Chris Omaweng

Join the heroes of Line of Duty, Happy Valley and Luther as they set out to solve the most treacherous murder they’ve had on their books yet: that of James Corden. It’s Line Of Duty meets Happy Valley meets Clarkson’s Farm, meets Match of the Day meets King Charles meets the Traitors. With around 60 impressions all played by one man… that’s one impression every minute! Whether you’re King Charles, Sir Ian McKellen or even Claudia Winkleman, in GRITTY POLICE DRAMA… no-one is safe.

www.lukekempner.com
Twitter:@LukeKempner
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Luke Kempner – Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical
Pleasance Courtyard – Upstairs
Date & Time: 2nd – 28th 2023

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