The Only Way is Downton

If impersonations are your thing, then the Only Way is Downton is a must-see at this year’s Fringe. Luke Kempner’s one hour show uses the popular show, Downton Abbey, as a basis for showcasing his impressive impressions.

The script is comical and has been skilfully crafted to ensure Kempner has plenty of good impressions to perform.

Kempner is able to seamlessly glide between 30 different impressions (they are often talking to each other) throughout this show, using gestures as well as voices to identify the characters. Kempner’s performance is captivating and full of enthusiasm. While some of the impressions are better than others, he fully commits to each character and gives them all a great energy, binding the show together. His Maggie Smith impression is particularly good.

The narrative follows the characters of Downton Abbey as they devise multiple plots to save it from financial ruin, all in the run up to a wedding. The Downton characters take part in various shows as money-making schemes, with none of them being successful in their endeavours.The performance is very topical and includes nods to tennis commentary, Alan Carr, the X-Factor, Pointless, The Great British Bake Off, and even a quick one to Harry Potter. These shows form the basis of a witty plot, but you need to be familiar with them to fully appreciate the performance. The script is comical and has been skilfully crafted to ensure Kempner has plenty of good impressions to perform. It is also very witty and includes historical facts – after all, it is 1912. The finale for the show is the performance of a song called ‘You Can Turn Anything into a Musical’, suggesting that this is what should happen to Downton Abbey next. And, I have to say, I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Kempner performs this very well, showing proof of a good singing voice as well as great comic timing.

Kempner’s performance skill brings numerous characters to life before your eyes and provides an hour of fun-filled entertainment.

Reviews by Lyndsey Bakewell

Pleasance Courtyard

The Only Way is Downton

★★★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Luke Kempner's hit impressions comedy returns following a West End run and tour. This updated version features over 30 voices from the 'Energizer Bunny of impressionists' (Huffington Post). As celebrities start appearing at Downton Abbey, cultures clash and eras hilariously collide. This brilliant parody takes in many other popular TV shows and celebrity voices to help the cast of Downton save the estate from financial ruin – again! 'Remarkable tour de force one-man show' **** (Telegraph). 'Gloriously funny ... affectionate spoof' **** (Sunday Independent). 'Consistently funny ... Kempner's impersonations are a deconstructive delight' **** (Metro).

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