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Puppet master at work

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 01, 2013

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AT a time when his friends were considering careers in accountancy and law, Kieran Powell had his sights set on a more unconventional path.

Puppetry. Or rather the art of ventriloquism.

But don't expect a routine in the same mould as Keith Harris and his much-loved Orville the duck at The Sundial Theatre in Cirencester tonight.

The 17-year-old from Nailsworth has his very own take with his Look Who's Talking show, part of his first UK tour.

"It's a fun, silly show really," Kieran says.

"I take modern songs normally and put a different twist on them, obviously with the puppets.

"There is a bit of Gangnam Style, well actually quite a lot.

"I also do a whole blind date routine where I get three women on stage and try and find a puppet a girlfriend."

Kieran's energy and passion is infectious and he has a knowledge of his quirky craft which belies his teenager years.

His career started out at the tender age of 11 when he stumbled across a YouTube video of American ventriliquist Jeff Dunham.

"It was a fantastically funny video. I probably shouldn't have watched it as I was young and it was quite rude.

"But then I thought 'oh that's cool I'll make a living out of that'." And he did, devoting hours in front of the mirror to honing the ability to throw his voice.

"Obviously that was the natural thing to do as a teenager," he jokes.

"I would be doing it every evening when I'd come home from school when I should have been doing homework.

"After about two weeks of practice I thought I'm amazing, I'll make millions of pounds. Obviously I was quite wrong."

Kieron's first public appearance came sooner than expected when he found himself in front of an audience of thousands at a scout camp – aged 11.

"There were 3,500 people and I was appalling. The biggest gig of my life and I was terrible.

"I went on and sang We Are The Champions with a monkey on my arm.

"It wasn't really genius but I got a cheer."

The experience wetted his appetite for the big stage and less than two years later he applied for the second series of talent contest, Britain's Got Talent.

"I got through to the judges and I got three buzzes.

"I used the monkey puppet and I remember Simon Cowell said something like 'it's that monkey from that Tetley tea advert and he did an impression of it."

With such a quirky talent, is Kieran ever tempted to play tricks on friends and family?

"I went through a stage where I would make everything talk," he said. "I would go up to a bottle bank and get it to say 'let me out'.

"In interviews they always ask me to have a puppet on my arm but I say no because it's a bit weird.

"I don't normally go round with a puppet on my arm."

Tickets to see Keiran cost £5. Call 01285 654228.

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