Tony's Last Tape

I remember hearing Tony Benn speak many years ago, when I was still in school. I had heard quite a few politicians speak and whilst I listened to them all with interest and respect, Benn was the first to make a real impression. I had never heard anyone talk about political issues with such raw passion and conviction. Whatever you think about Benn’s radical socialist politics, there’s no denying that he was an incredibly important figure in British politics right up until his death last year.

A convincing and compelling performer, Bretherton does Benn justice and holds our attention for the full 75 minutes.

Benn was a prolific diarist and often taped his diary entries, many of which he made public. As such, the decision to draw a parallel with Beckett’s classic Krapp’s Last Tape makes sense. There is a poignancy in depicting Benn looking back over his life and his part in the changing political landscape of the UK, both in regards to Benn’s life and to the history of our country.

Philip Bretherton gives an excellent performance as Benn. While he doesn’t quite capture the brilliance of Benn himself – but who could? – he delivers a very successful representation of him and not an embarrassing impersonation. A convincing and compelling performer, Bretherton does Benn justice and holds our attention for the full 75 minutes.

The set is effective. It immediately brings to mind Beckett’s play but with Benn’s touches, such as his books on the shelves. The script is witty, informative and meaty although I did feel like it could have been trimmed down just a little. If it had been cut down to an hour, it would have been more succinct and powerful.

This is a play that will appeal most strongly to audiences with an interest in UK politics and particularly those who have an existing knowledge of Tony Benn. It is a wonderful tribute to a fascinating and important figure. 

Reviews by Marni Appleton

Underbelly, Cowgate

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Family

Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Love in the Time of Gilmore Girls

Underbelly, Cowgate

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer

Pleasance Courtyard



Burning Books


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



The Blurb

'Superb' ( 'Funny and heart-warming' (Platform). Starring Philip Bretherton and inspired by the diaries of Tony Benn, one of Britain's most respected, inspiring but divisive politicians. This critically acclaimed new play examines the struggle of a man who knows it may be time to withdraw from the fight, to let others take over, but doesn't know how. An old man sits in a room faced with a collection of recording devices. He takes out a pipe, peels a banana and pours himself the first cup of tea of the day...

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £15.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets