PREVIEW: The Only Way Is Downton at the Lovegrove Theatre

PUBLISHED: 17:32 16 April 2014

Downton Abbey gets a one man revamp with a twist from Luke

Downton Abbey gets a one man revamp with a twist from Luke

(C)2014 steve ullathorne, all rights reserved

Luke Kempner brings his one man impressions show based on Downton Abbey to the Redbridge Drama Centre in May, but it’s not what you might think...

The solo show is energetic, entertaining and funThe solo show is energetic, entertaining and fun

Most impression shows have a cynical, cutting edge, with the impression itself used to undermine and mock the subject for comic effect.

The brilliant Channel 4 satire programme Bremner, Bird and Fortune was a remarkable example of how impressions could be used to eviscerate the credibility and public image of the subject.

However, with The Only Way Is Downton Luke Kempner has moved away from the traditional model of sardonic impression show to a warmer, more endearing form of mimicry.

He said: “The show isn’t nasty about the characters, it’s more of a celebration of people’s quirks rather than mocking them.

“I’m a huge fan of Downton and that’s where a lot of my inspiration is drawn from.

“This isn’t just me standing on stage doing impressions for ninety minutes, there’s a narrative and story to it.”

That story line, which is very loosely based on the popular ITV costume drama, sees the Grantham family falling into poverty in a modern world and having to adapt to survive.

This means appearances in a range of TV shows one would imagine falling rather short of the high standards of the Downton occupants such as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

Hilarity ensues with a range of different characters popping up at various points including comedian John Bishop, olympic diver Tom Daley and the X Factor judges.

Frantically flitting between contrasting roles and voices is certainly a somewhat different experience to what Kempner was used to in musical theatre but he is enjoying the challenge.

He said: “I was really enjoying being in London and performing in shows like Les Mis and Avenue Q but I really felt that I wanted to create something myself. I used to do impressions a lot when I was younger. Particularly of my drama teachers, I would always be impersonating them during preparations for our Christmas shows and other plays so it has always been something I’ve really enjoyed.”

Luckily for Luke his teachers didn’t mind being mimicked and inadvertently helped to foster the talent which would lead him to writing and then performing his one man show at last years Edinburgh Festival.

He said: “Last year was my second appearance at Edinburgh Festival as a performer but my first time with my impressions.

“It was weird actually because in a musical there is always other cast members around both in preparation for and during the show but with The Only Way Is Downton it’s only me!

“It went really well and I’m looking forward to going back this year, my girlfriend lives there and I just love the festival and hopefully it goes well again this time around.”

Luke’s one man show includes over 40 characters and he is looking forward to bringing the divers performance to Redbridge.

He said: “I’ve never performed in this part of the world before so it’s exciting for me. I think the closest I’ve been to Redbridge is Southend so it’s definitely new territory. It’s nice to be in London as more of my friends can come and see me perform and Londoners generally are a more avid theatre goers generally which makes it a little bit of a different experience for me on stage.”

Going forward Luke has ruled nothing out in terms of where his career will go next, saying: “I’ve got some really exciting TV stuff coming up that I can’t say much about, as well as some other acting besides my solo show. It’s just whatever comes my way really. I’ve got plenty of friends in musical theatre so definitely wouldn’t rule out a return to that at some point.”

You can catch Luke Kempner and his many other personalities on stage at the Lovegrove Theatre, Redbridge Drama Centre on Churchfields, South Woodford on May 7 & 8 at 8pm.

To book tickets call the box office on 020 8708 8803 Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm or on the door.

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