Romeo and Duet - ITV's new musical dating show - to feature Portsmouth am-dram star Lauren Kempton

A STAR of the stage from Portsmouth has been trying to find love on screen in a new primetime TV dating show – Romeo and Duet.

Thursday, 14th April 2022, 3:58 pm

Lauren Kempton, who is a regular lead in am-dram shows across the region, applied to take part in the new show after her friends encouraged her to give it a go.

Lauren, 35, said: ‘It was described to me as a mix of Blind Date and The Voice.

‘A few people tagged me in a post online about it because they know that I sing, and they know that I'm single – and that's exactly what the ad wanted. But it was my friend Sassy Harvey who really encouraged me to go for it.

Lauren Kempton from Southsea, appears in the April 23, 2022, episode of the new ITV dating show, Romeo and Duet. Picture by Romeo and Duet/Goat TV

‘I do quite a bit with her at Titchfield Festival Theatre where she's the assistant artistic director. I said to her, it was all her fault, but I am quite appreciative that she put me forward for it.

‘Because of Covid there were lots of Zoom auditions and things online, and all of a sudden I was cast – that was just before Christmas.

‘All of a sudden it became very real.’

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Lauren Kempton from Southsea, appears in the April 23, 2022, episode of the new ITV dating show, Romeo and Duet. Picture by Romeo and Duet/Goat TV

Filming for the show, which is presented by former Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse, took place at Media City in Salford.

The mature student and musical theatre teacher was one of four women who sings to a man on a balcony behind a screen, in a bid to entice him down to join them.

‘It was like a military operation on the day, so they kept everyone separate and we had no idea who was behind the screen,’ said Lauren.

She is sworn to secrecy about the outcome of her performance.

And even though she is used to performing on the stage to packed houses at The Kings or New Theatre Royal, she added: ‘It was more terrifying than any show I've done before in my entire life.

‘But the whole process was amazing. I never knew much work went into putting a TV show together, and the stage and the set was absolutely huge.

‘There was a studio audience and you could hear them as you're waiting to go on.

‘I don't tend to get stage fright much any more, but this was probably the most daunting experience of my life – and I've done a skydive! It was scarier than that.’

Lauren was originally going to sing Hopelessly Devoted To You from Grease, but when another contestant dropped out she was given a new song, which is being kept secret.

‘I didn't have very long to learn it, and it wasn't a song I would pick. It was a quite a poppy, recent song, and it was quite low for my voice, but it was really up-tempo compared to the song I was given before.

‘In hindsight it was probably a better song and I think the audience appreciated it more than they would have with Hopelessly Devoted.

‘I was pleasantly surprised with it, but it was a lot of stress to learn it in a short space of time.’

The show starts this Saturday at 7pm on ITV and ITV Hub, and Lauren’s episode screens on April 23.