Theatre Review: Confessions of Gordon Brown

Ian Grieve in Confessions of Gordon Brown. Picture: Comp
Ian Grieve in Confessions of Gordon Brown. Picture: Comp
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IAN Grieve gives a truly riveting solo performance in this witty, pacey and revealing encounter with a Prime Minister of some complexity, not to say complexes.

* * * * *

Pleasance Courtyard

Kevin Toolis’ informed script leaves you with the feeling that you have been in the presence of a very intelligent man of diverse knowledge, not only of history but also of the ‘intriguing’ side of politics, historical and present day.

In this production at the Pleasance Courtyard, Brown emerges as a man of great humanity and high aspiration, but whose temperament cast him as a thoroughly unsuitable candidate for leadership of a nation, his psychological weakness exacerbated by his long wait for the hot seat, due to the duplicity of his former colleague Tony Blair.

Unsuitable material to wear the crown he so profoundly coveted and believed was his right, when he finally realised his dream he proceeded to tie the knot on Britain’s bankruptcy, which Blair had begun with the Iraq War.

Kevin Toolis, political journalist of repute and film maker, takes no hostages with the average audience member’s lack of political background. In a sense, this barrage of information could prove a weakness. Not so. This sketch is a scintillating work,and although a prior reading might help, there’s enough general information, combined with a sharp and focused performance, for the word-picture of Brown to emerge with clarity.

Towards the end, as the mobile phone of a forgetful audience member tinkled, Grieve (or was it Brown) retorted in a flash, “If it’s Tony Blair, I don’t want to speak to him.”

Until 26 August