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Jan all set to impress.

Byline: MALCOLM HANDLEY

FIRST impressions, as we all know, are lasting impressions - for comedian and actress Jan Ravens those impressions have made her one of TV's best know impersonators starring in Spitting Image and Dead Ringers. Currently she is starring in the world premier of Brad Fraser's 5 @50 at The Royal Exchange, Manchester, a darkly comic look at five women turning 50. Jan admits it is a huge challenge, quite different from doing her much-loved impressions.

But she is interrupting the busy theatre schedule to do a one night solo show, Changing Faces, entirely about impressions.

"Being in 5 @50 is a huge challenge, but it is one I really wanted. I wanted to exercise my acting muscles as well as my impressionist's muscles," she laughs.

"In the solo show there will be some well-known impressions and some new ones but I will also be chatting about impressions and the history of poking fun at politicians and public figures. So there will be plenty of opportunities to explore people from past TV shows along with one or two new voices" promises Jan.

"I'll also be teaching the audience how to do impressions. I am aiming to make sure you will leave the show able to imitate at least one character."

Jan shot to prominence in the TV hit Spitting Image, followed by other series including Dead Ringers, Bremner, Bird and Fortune and Alistair McGowan's Big Impression.

Yet it all started when she was a youngster, growing up in Wirral where her mother still lives.

"My mother was my first impression. I would imitate her to entertain my brother, then when I went to school it was the teachers to entertain my friends," she smiles.

Jan wanted to go to drama school and be an actress: "Just like Glenda Jackson who came from near where I lived but my parents wanted me to go to university and concentrate on getting qualifications."

At Cambridge acting and comedy took centre stage and she became the first female president of Footlights, performing alongside Stephen Fry and other future stars.

Exchange, 50 She has just completed a pilot show, That Jan Ravens, for BBC Radio 4, so hopefully fans will soon be hearing more of her many voices.

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Jan Ravens takes time out from her challenging new role at the Royal Exchange to perform a solo show
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2011
Words:395
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