I'm a huge fan of Debra Stephenson I remember watching her in gritty drama's like Playing the Field and Bad Girls. I've seen Debra twice in real life – once playing Jack in pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk and once shopping in TK Maxx. I was too shy to go and say “Hi can I take a selfie?” so you will need to believe me on that one!
As an only child Debra Stephenson used to take refuge from adult conversation in her grandmother’s record collection, losing herself in a world of Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, Cleo Laine, Dionne Warwick and Marilyn Monroe.
Now, some 30 years later she’s about to stage Debra Stephenson’s Impression Show, her first solo theatre show and inspired in no small part by those childhood days of spent in front of her gran’s radiogram.
“This is me turning full circle really and going back to what I always wanted to do as a kid,” she explains. “It’s a musical impressions show with a full orchestra and we’ll have a laugh along the way. There are comedy impressions, but the show is built on singing impressions.”
Debra tackles more than 50 different voices for the show, using special arrangements of the songs to condense as many as possible into two 45-minute sets.
The first half of the show starts with the jazz age – Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Ella Fitzgerald, then we move through the sixties with Cilla Black, Lulu, Sandie Shaw, into the seventies and eighties and up to the noughties with Christina Aguilera and a bit of Britney and beyond with Amy Winehouse and Skyfall from Adele. The second half will be songs from the movies, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley Bassey, Judy Garland. While it’s not stand-up show as such, there’s still plenty of room for Debra's iconic impressions like Cheryl Cole and Davina MacCall which are my personal favourites!
"It really appeals to me being able to do this show in my local theatre. I’ve done panto a couple of times at Lighthouse, I know the team, so I asked and they said it was a good idea so they’ve worked with me on bringing the show to life.”
“I love living in Poole and having my family here, but I’ve still got a living to earn and a family so to turn down those shows you need some confidence and a bit of money in the bank. That’s what this show is about, it’s about me taking care of business, just putting on a show and seeing who comes.”
You can catch Debra Stephenson’s Impression Show on Saturday 30 May, 7.30pm, Lighthouse Poole.