★ ★ ★ ★
Take A Long Hard Luke At Yourself marks the fourth time that comedian and impressionist Luke Kempner has performed a full hour at the Fringe.
Whilst I very much enjoyed last year's show, Judi Dench Broke My Heart, this year's effort is a solid improvement and goes to show you what a difference a year makes.
In that year Luke has continued to star in BBC Three's Murder In Successville, has appeared in three episodes of BBC One's Tracey Ullman's Show, is about to appear in an episode of the final series of Episodes and has become a permanent part of the furniture on Big Brother's Bit On The Side on Channel 5 providing his unique take on the housemates.
All this added experience and exposure appears to have helped Luke deliver what I think is his strongest performance to date in Take A Long Hard Luke At Yourself.
When I interviewed Luke in July, he told me that he's never just wanted to be an impressionist. He's always seen himself as an impressionist and a comedian and I feel that this year for the first time, he's well on his way to making sure audiences see him in this way.
Take A Long Hard Luke At Yourself is far more personal than his previous efforts. Rather than switching from impression to impression, there's a fair amount of Luke Kempner in-between.
Luke reveals how his mother thought that last year's show was "a bit safe" and he was the first to agree. Whilst I wouldn't say that he took risks with Take Long Hard Luke At Yourself, he did open up far more than he ever has on stage.
He speaks about his new wife, his mother-in-law and his relationship with his father, or lack of. I can't speak for the entire audience in the room but I certainly left the Pleasance Beside knowing a lot more about the real Luke than I did after leaving last year's show.
Luke's much-loved impressions of Andy Murray, Alan Carr, Dame Maggie Smith and Jeremy Kyle continue to deliver but it was his newer impressions which received the biggest laughs including his superb breakdown of John Bishop as well as his (mandatory?) Donald Trump impression.
The standout moment of Luke's fourth hour, and one which landed particularly well with the audience, was watching Bear Grylls hosting a TV show alongside Sir David Attenborough, Louis Theroux and Andy Murray. It really was as good as it sounds.
Take A Long Hard Luke At Yourself is a solid improvement on last year's show but I feel that Luke still has so much more to give which is why I'm already looking forward to his next Fringe show which I'd love noting more than to award five stars to.