The Confessions of Gordon Brown
Kevin Toolis, writer and director of this new satirical comedy, explains what it's all about.
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By Kevin Toolis, the writer and director of The Confessions of Gordon Brown
Is there anything to say in drama about politics when all the drama has been carefully squeezed out of real politics?
In the olden days, before catch up TV, the annual Labour and Tory party conferences were guaranteed political barn fests. Revolts, amongst the delegates, errant trade union bosses and pro-hanging, homophobic Tory MPs, were as commonplace as the bare breasted women in HBO’s Games of Thrones. Passion and politics mattered.
But post New Labour politics has become a far more constrained art. It's hard now to even tell Labour and Conservative MPs apart. The uniform, mid middle-aged, mostly male, always suited and supinely reasoned, is interchangeable. The old joke runs true: British Politics - Hollywood for Gnomes!
As real politics has dulled, our interest in the political drama has quickened with Netflix’s fabulous two series remake of House of Cards with Kevin Spacey as an ice-cold Richard III in the White House and Danish TV’s Borgen series.
Politics too is back on the London stage in works like Moira Buffini's delightful doppelganger Handbagged on a decade of weekly audiences between the Queen and Mrs Thatcher.
And then there is The Confessions of Gordon Brown, a darker juvenilian satire that I have written and returns to the Ambassadors Theatre in June and July.
The received wisdom is that anything to do with serious politics and Gordon Brown in particular is the kiss of death.
So why am I doing it?
The answer is because I believe it is important and that a figure like Gordon Brown, a great man fallen, is the real meat of drama that helps us understand our own world.
And to my own amazement The Confessions is genuinely laugh out loud funny, in parts.
But also to see ourselves as the Led. In reality 96% of the population will never attend a political meeting, read an election manifesto or touch the hand of their future ruler. Most of our decision making in the electoral booth will be guided by complex psychological preferences – Golden Rule Number Two- The People Do Not Vote for Baldies.
What our rulers look like is far more important than what they say.
But who we choose to rule over us, and why, is a perennial and essential question for all of us.
The Confessions of Gordon Brown, June 3-July 30 Ambassadors Theatre, London. Book: 08448 112 334.