Words: Elodie Marriott
Pooling all his resources, Luke Kempner has scoured BBC iPlayer to create the ultimate gritty police drama… with a musical twist. Investigating the death of James Cordon (audience cheers) is a team of detectives: the alcoholic solving his last case, the Northerner with her tea in one hand and a pie in the other, Louis Theroux, Ian McKellen, and Claudia Winkleman’s fringe.
With closed eyes, the Upstairs stage in which Kempner performs his one-man show feels very full. The audience hungrily anticipate the reveal of celebrities who are inserted into screwball roles by Kempner in a god-like fashion as he ambitiously performs 60 impressions in 60 minutes. His mimicry of gestures is exceptional, in particular, his Michael McIntyre and Ant McPartlin left the crowd howling.
The musical aspect of the show, cleverly incorporated to offset the dangerous levels of gritty, thrusts the impressions into increased heights of mastery. His rendition of Aladdin’s A Whole New World, where Prince Harry convinces Meghan to move back to Britain (mainly because of the Greggs), is a joy to watch.
As not all impressions are human, Kempner breaks the fourth wall to ask our permission for a ‘moo’ and a ‘beep’ to count. His range is truly stunning, especially as he has given his Northern detective the ability to sing falsetto.
Luke Kempner in Gritty Police Drama: A One-Man Musical
Pleasance Courtyard, Upstairs