Pros: Gripping portrayal of the former Prime Minister by Ian Grieve.
Cons: Might not appeal to those less well versed with the ins and outs of British politics.
Four years after Gordon Brown suffered electoral defeat by the Cameron-lead Conservatives, the British public is still fascinated by the enigma that is the former British Prime Minister. Brought to the London stage by Bafta-winning writer Kevin Toolis in his first play, Ian Grieve portrays Brown in of The Confessions of Gordon Brown, now showing at the Ambassadors Theatre. The transfer to the Ambassador Theatre follows the show’s debut performance at the Edinburgh Festival and was quickly followed by a West End transfer to the Trafalgar Studios and sold-out national tour of Scotland and Wales.
The Brown depicted on stage is a tortured soul, pacing up and down his office at 5.45am waiting for his staff to arrive for a 6am meeting. With his flagging poll results, focus groups and public opinion turning against him, the stress he feels is plain to see as he punches the keys on his laptop in frustration. Looking back on his personal and political career, Brown attempts to reorganise his thoughts in order to do the seemingly impossible and sway the public back over to Labour. The media depiction of Gordon Brown as a lonely, tragic figure is heavily drawn upon by Toolis. Some of the funniest moments come when he mentions Tony Blair and Brown’s insistence that Blair leave to give him the leadership as promised.
Although his flaws are exaggerated, the character Grieve portrays is not a million miles away from the Gordon Brown that we remember. Ian Grieve’s performance is more than an impression of Gordon Brown, he offers a deeper insight into the man the public were told existed in a personal capacity – a man who believed he was doing the right thing but often let his temper get the better of him. Grieve offers a fantastic performance, particularly given how difficult one-man shows can be in terms of holding an audience’s attention for the duration.
The whole performance is set in Brown’s office at 10 Downing Street – it’s simple, with a window showing the pre-dawn light shining through, a desk with telephone and stacked full of Kit-Kats and a clock hanging on the wall which has stopped at 5.45am, perhaps emphasising that while the world outside is moving forwards, Brown is still trapped in his old way of thinking.
This is more for those interested in politics, mentions of various MPs and Political figures would possibly be lost on those who don’t know more about the British political sphere. None the less, it is a captivating show, and if you are into politics, then I do recommend this production.
Written by: Kevin Toolis
Directed by: Kevin Toolis
Produced by: Many Rivers Films
Booking Link: http://gordonconfesses.co.uk/
Box Office: 08448 112 334
Booking Until: 30 July 2014