The Confessions of Gordon Brown

It’s 5:40am by the clock on the office wall and Gordon Brown has some secrets to share before his first governmental meeting of the day. He’s statuesque and statesmanlike, with his red tie carefully tucked into his trousers and he speaks in a smooth, measured Scottish accent. He reaches out to shake hands in the front row of an audience which is part confidant, part eavesdropper, listening in on this monologue of rambling thoughts and memories. He ponders how Napoleon’s final days resonate with the end of his long-awaited premiership before flicking back to his younger years in politics which honed a sense of destiny and determination to rise to power. We constantly veer back to several sore points; bitterness at so many years spent in Tony Blair’s shadow, his politician’s image obsession with height (he’s taller than Blair), having a full head of hair and the lofty conviction that he alone saved the (financial) world.

As the gossiping and back-stabbing develops, Ian Grieve’s skilful performance leaves us in little doubt that we are in the presence of the great Leader himself. The visual resemblance is striking, and there’s an uncanny familiarity in Grieve’s steady, occasionally gruff tone and awkward brow mopping. One particularly precious moment comes when he pulls an ancient cuneiform tile out of a drawer and concludes it probably should be in a museum but he quite likes using it as a paperweight.

Grieve’s performance is impressive and credit must be given to writer and director Kevin Toolis for creating a very believable Gordon Brown. Unfortunately, though, on moving into the second half of the show the dialogue seems to falter. It’s taken half an hour to go through Gordon’s foibles and years of frustrated ambition and it seems Toolis is struggling to find more to say. Gordon returns over and over again to the past, when there was still hope that Tony Blair would honour their personal agreement and stand aside as PM. The message is clear; this is a man who, perhaps a little like Napoleon, sees the end in sight and can only cope with it by revisiting the old battles to understand where he messed up. Toolis’ show may not be perfect but his Gordon is disconcertingly believable.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Gordon Brown hilariously reveals the darkest secrets of being Prime Minister, the stab-in-the-back plottings, the betrayals and most importantly - the hair gel. Brand new play by Emmy-nominated Scots writer/director Kevin Toolis. www.GordonConfesses.com

Most Popular See More

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets