The Confessions of Gordon Brown at Trafalgar Studios
After a successful debut at Edinburgh Festival, sharp new play The Confessions of Gordon Brown has opened in London. This one-man show explores the dark and convoluted secrets that come with being prime minister with incredible insight and wit.
Kevin Toolis is the writer and director of this production, and he has managed to do something remarkable: create a scathing political satire that can be enjoyed by anyone, not just those well-acquainted with politics. The comedy is done in such a way that you need only a basic understanding of Gordon Brown’s career to appreciate it, though of course the more you know, the better. Toolis’ writing is sharp and funny, and he is not afraid to push the boundaries of political correctness. His play draws a fascinating parallel between the theatre of politics and the art of performing. The direction is also perfectly timed and well-crafted; his simple use of lighting to change scenes is clever and effective.
Ian Grieve, who plays Brown, is a dynamic and vigorous performer. He bursts onto the stage with an energy that lasts the entire show, grabbing the audience from his very first breath. This engagement is constant and direct – he never lets them look away.
Grieve walks, talks and looks like a true politician in this performance. Every gesture, every word, is flawlessly crafted and controlled. However, his control as an actor does not mean that he fails to show us Brown’s vulnerabilities. On the contrary, when he lets the mask slip and reveals the real Gordon Brown – the man and not the politician – this is when his skill as an actor is at its finest.
Grieve brings to life a character who is both hilarious and pitiful. He walks the line between ridiculous caricature and serious drama perfectly. There is a strong amount of pathos within the comedy, whether you like Gordon Brown or not.
This play is perfect for anyone who loves politics and drama, hilarious comedy, and exceptional acting. In short, it has something for everyone.
The Confessions of Gordon Brown is at Trafalgar Studios until 28th September 2013. For further information or to book visit the show’s website here.
Watch a trailer for The Confessions of Gordon Brown here: