Edinburgh Reviews: Confessions of Gordon Brown (Pleasance)

Confessions of Gordon Brown, Pleasance ✭✭✭✭

One-person shows are always big at Edinburgh, and this combination mixed with politics is proving a big draw at Pleasance, with a rather older, more traditional crowd than many other shows. Confessions of Gordon Brown is a riveting solo performance steeped in humour and melancholy. A compelling and expertly executed imagined monologue of Brown’s in the early hours before the 2010 election. What it lacks in real ‘confessions’ it more than makes up for in a bleak tale of rapidly fading hope and self-belief. The strain is stitched into every facet of Ian Grieve’s beautiful performance, the humour of Kevin Toolis’ filmicly structured writing is given full weight, as is the pathos. Witty jibes at ‘Tony’, William Hague (and a particularly effective improvised rebuke aimed at a ringing mobile during the show) seem incongruous with the Brown we recognise from his speeches – which are beautifully interwoven here. The humour segues into raw pain and frustration and it is in these moments that the performance is at its most effective. The Brown we think we know is oddly more intriguing than the Brown we never saw. And perhaps that was the problem.

**** (4 stars)
Runs until 26th August
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