Making a good impression

A scene from The Woman In Black. Picture by Tristram Kenton

Gothic chiller The Woman in Black comes to haunt Portsmouth

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Britain’s top satirical impressionist, Rory Bremner, returns to the live stage this summer.

The show will feature a mix of some of his firm favourites, along with his own take on events dominating the news.

His unique brand of comedy and satire has sustained a highly successful career in radio and television for over 25 years. Nowadays, he’s equally in demand as a columnist for newspapers and magazines and a documentary presenter.

We found out what makes him tick.

When did you first realise you were good at impressions?

As with most impressionists, the rot pretty much set in at school – doing teachers and sports commentators like Richie Benaud and Bill McLaren.

My school started admitting girls in my third year and I used my impressions from The Good Life to get noticed (to no avail).

What would you be if you weren’t an impressionist?

I’d love to be a good sportsman (cricket or rugby) and I’m really sad I stopped piano lessons as I’d love to play jazz piano. Other than that I’d like to be working in TV/radio or using my languages more.

Which three things make you laugh?

Questions like that. They’re impossible to answer as any reply changes like the wind.

The overheard conversations and behaviour of real people, like the man opposite me on the train saying into his mobile: ‘Yes. Let’s go with the ceramic turd.’ Or the two girls denied vodka alcopops at Didcot Station at 9.30am saying: ‘What’s this country coming to?’

And funny people – Eddie Izzard, Ross Noble, Chris Addison, Andy Zaltzman, Danny Baker, Hattie Hayridge (on tour with me – come and see!).

Who’s your favourite person to do an impression of?

Bill Clinton because of the licence to flirt outrageously. Nelson Mandela for the ‘Wow’ factor. David Blunkett gets most laughs. And Louis Walsh, my latest addition.

Who’s your hero?

My sports heroes are Andy Irvine (a Scottish rugby player and my first sporting hero) and Freddie Flintoff (cricket). Also Mandela for his dignity in power. And Clinton. He was impressive but wore his intelligence lightly (when he was wearing anything at all, that is).

See Rory Bremner at the New Theatre Royal, Guildhall walk, on Tuesday with support from two of his oldest friends, comedienne Hattie Hayridge and jazz star Ian Shaw from 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £16 from (023) 9264 9000 or newtheatreroyal.com.

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