The Confessions Of Gordon Brown @ Pleasance Courtyard

Review by Emma Ainley-Walker | 14 Aug 2013
  • The Confessions of Gordon Brown @ Pleasance Courtyard

Every year, the theme of politics saturates the Fringe theatre scene, and by the very nature of political theatre not everything will appeal to everyone's ideals. In spite of this, The Confessions of Gordon Brown is a crowd pleaser. It gives you everything you would expect going in: how he got into politics, his anti-Tory, anti-Tony stance, and a slew of references to Kirkcaldy.

It's an intriguing insight into a political leader who's journey to the top wasn't easy and could have been much smoother if it happened at any other time. That isn't really news, though, and therein lies the sad problem at the heart of Confessions: that it is not really all that confessional. The acting is solid and Ian Grieve's Brown is engaging; you want to hear his story and you sympathise with his trials and tribulations. The dialogue is witty - though if audience courtesy exists then this would have been performance specific - and included the best response to an audience member's phone ringing that this reviewer has ever heard, which only speaks to the quality of the performance.

Unfortunately, it just lacks a certain something, a certain depth that takes the Gordon Brown we all think we know and shows us something different, something truly confessional about him that helps people outside of the political world to understand or to decide at least how they feel. Confessions is a good play, but as far as political theatre goes it is safe. A crowd pleaser, but expected.

The Confessions Of Gordon Brown @ Pleasance Courtyard, Until Aug 26 (extra shows 13th/14th), 1:45pm, £12.50/£11.50