The Confessions of Gordon Brown

Kevin Toolis

Manyrivers

Pleasance Courtyard

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ***

Review by Graeme Strachan

It's never an easy task to parody a famous person, especially when they're still alive, and also one of Britain's most underappreciated and much-maligned Prime Minister.

Yet that's what Manyrivers has chosen to do with this hourlong peek into the imagined office of Gordon Brown, frantically stressing over tactics on the eve of the election which sunk him utterly.

There's little revelatory here, nothing unknown beyond the most basic knowledge of Brown's career. While the many japes and cutting remarks aimed at Blair and Bush, are insightful and witty, the introspection feels insubstantial.

That's not to say there's a lack of humanity; the all-too-brief moments of wonderfully underplayed grief surrounding the death of John Smith, and the all-too-real anger at Blair's long-winded term in power, are beautifully realised.

The main trouble with The Confessions of Gordon Brown is much like those surrounding the man himself. It's slyly clever but hard to really engage with, and while the merit is duly obvious, it somehow just doesn't have the charisma to really pull you in.