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
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'