Premier performance: Gordon Brown's fall from power inspires new play
Alice Jones' Arts Diary
An hour and a quarter trapped in a darkened room with a ranting Gordon Brown - it sounds like Tony Blair’s worst nightmare. It’s also the premise for a new play, The Confessions of Gordon Brown, which previews at London’s White Bear Theatre next week ahead of a month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.
“The inspiration for the play came from people talking about Brown as a Shakespearean tragic hero, but no-one could say which one”, its writer, Kevin Toolis tells me. “He’s a little Richard II, has the vicious streak of Macbeth, a touch of the madness of Lear and is as indecisive as Hamlet.”
The monologue, “neither hagiography nor hatchet job”, apparently, focusses on what Brown has been doing in Kirkcaldy since his fall from power. “He’s our greatest failure as Prime Minister in 200 years”, says Toolis, a former parliamentary journalist. “In that he was potentially a great man.” He spoke to Brown’s inner circle including Ed Balls, Damian McBride and Douglas Alexander for the script.
“It wasn’t easy. Some of them lied to me. And I wouldn’t say Ed Balls was particularly forthcoming. But his failure to confirm things I knew to be true was intriguing in itself. Brown simply had a mesmerising power over his court.”
Brown will be played by Ian Grieve, a Scottish theatre actor, in the one-man show. “The problems is, no British actor is as famous as Gordon Brown”, Toolis says. “So I just looked for someone who had the same demonic energy.”
The Confessions of Gordon Brown, 18 to 22 June, White Bear Theatre, London SE1 (020 7793 9193; www.whitebeartheatre.co.uk); 31 July to 26 August, The Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh (0131 556 6550; www.edfringe.com)
Also in the Arts Diary
After giving gay film R-rating despite no sex or violencefilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
Lucy, film review: Scarlett Johansson will blow your mind in Luc Besson's complex thriller
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw
Miley Cyrus concert banned on morality grounds in the Dominican Republic
Coolio has sold his soul to Pornhub
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians