Gordon Brown was, according to the blurb for this show, our greatest failing as a Prime Minister in 200 years. I'm not too sure what the meter used for such a claim is but, luckily for Fringe audiences and unlike the enraged Prime Minister that nobody wanted, this show is a triumph.
Writer Kevin Toolis brings a varied and pacy writing style to his funny and sometimes poetic script.
Ian Grieve as the fuming Scottish primary is captivating. He paints Gordon as a bitter, jealous and arrogant dictator incapable of seeing his own wrongdoing or wayward leadership. “Power comes from crushing others' hopes,” he declares, lounging in his leather desk chair and working on his infamous and much mocked politician's smile.
Grieve has a huge stage presence. His performance occasionally teeters on the edge of pantomimic but, just as he is about to go too far, he reels it back in and continues to revel in playing the politician people love to hate. There's an interesting duplicity explored throughout regarding Gordon's absolute ineptitude and his massively inflated ego and Grieve has a lot of fun fulfilling these facets.
Writer Kevin Toolis brings a varied and pacy writing style to his funny and sometimes poetic script. There are a few sections which skirt around ideas and philosophies for a touch too long, leaving a residual feeling of hearing a lot but learning a little. Scenes which reveal insight into Gordon's opinions on fellow party members (especially Tony Blair) or Downing Street protocol are the strongest elements of this show. Gordon's apparent disinterest in his peers and his self-canonisation hold plenty of comedic weight which Grieve and Toolis play with to great effect.
Gordon regularly refers to his school motto and life mantra, “I will do my utmost,” Grieve and Toolis have certainly taken this lesson from the man himself and, it would seem from their production, were wise to ignore whatever other ones he taught.