The Rhodes Review: The Only Way is Downton

Lifestyle / Tue 24th Feb 2015 at 07:32am

Review of ‘The Only Way is Downton”
Rhodes Centre: Friday Feb 20th, 2015.

VISITORS to the Edinburgh Festival have a favourite type of show. There is the one, that you take a punt on. You see the publicity blurb that describes it as one man playing lots of characters from Downton as well as a number from mainstream television. It hardly floats you boat but you give it a go. When you come out after the show you probably say the following.

The show is a tour-de-force by Luke Kempner who keeps the audience thrilled and entertained for a sold hour and a half. This so easily could have gone wrong. One man playing all the characters is risky but Luke pulls it off because of not only what he does with his voice, not only that it is a funny script but also what he does with his body. It is all about the slightest change in body movement in order to give each character a motif. Whether it is Thomas polishing silver or Lady Mary’s arms (does she really do that).

Some of his impressions are spot on. Actually, the one we loved the most was John Bishop (John Bishop in Downton? You need to go see!). His Maggie Smith is very funny, his Cora is also pin-point.

But what is also a winner is Luke’s engaging personality. There is still something of the desperate vaudevillian in his performance. It is key that he interacts with the audience, especially in the jokes that we may not get as quickly as we should.

Loved the show. It is no wonder that it was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival a couple of years ago. Look out for the name, Luke Kempner.

It is the type of show that marks out the Rhodes as a top theatre.

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