Luke Kempner in Gritty Police Drama: A One Man Musical
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Soho Theatre, London
Cast: Luke Kempner

Star of the West End production of Les Misérables, Luke Kempner brings his British police drama musical to Soho.

It’s Line Of Duty meets Happy Valley meets Clarkson’s Farm, meets Match of the Day meets The Traitors. Whether you’re King Charles, Ian McKellen or Claudia Winkleman, in Gritty Police Drama… no-one is safe.

60 impressions in 60 minutes is already quite the feat to accomplish, but to also make it funny, topical and relatively coherent is truly a testament to Luke Kempner’s unique talent which shone brightly in this hilarious show all about mystery, murder and mayhem.

James Corden has been murdered (*gasp*) and the best and brightest in the force are tasked with solving the mystery of what happened. Ticking all the boxes of tropes we have come to expect from police dramas, Luke Kempner takes on the challenge of interpreting every part in the show, from Ian McKellen to a scarily good impression of Donald Trump via Miss Piggy.

Even for a self-confessed British-pop-culture ignorant, this show was an absolute delight. The energy stayed at 110% throughout, and didn’t miss any chances to make the audience feel like there really was something for everyone. Something to highlight was the musical elements of the show, which starts with an absolutely brilliant version of Defying Gravity introducing the key elements of a Gritty Police Drama. The nods to The Greatest Showman, Aladdin and Phantom of the Opera were such a brilliant addition, and Kempner’s West End background was definitely leveraged here. (You can see him at the Sondheim Theatre as Thénardier in Les Misérables when he’s not leaving audiences in stitches with his own show).

My only criticism has to do with the pacing. There is enough material to fill ninety minutes, but is instead packed in sixty. This results in a breakneck pace that can be hard to follow, particularly at the very beginning when the audience is coming to grips with the format of the show. There is something to be said for the value of blank space, even (and maybe particularly) in comedy.

Through the hilarity and chaos of it, Luke Kempner was able to weave a very gripping mystery, laid out the clues and delivered an incredibly satisfying reveal at the end of this unlikely whodunnit. You could say he commanded the audience like he was the Master of the House through and through.

I can’t wait to see what he might come up with next, and if you get the chance to see him live, don’t miss out!

You can find out more about Luke Kempner's One Man Musical, here.

Review by Luma

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