Published: 24/04/2014 12:13 - Updated: 25/04/2014 19:34

Gordon Brown's Shakespearean rise and fall comes to the stage

Billy Hartman is the former PM in The Confessions of Gordon Brown.
Billy Hartman is the former PM in The Confessions of Gordon Brown.

THERE is something Shakespearean about the rise and fall of Gordon Brown.

So reckons award-winning political journalist Kevin Toolis.

"He’s a bit of Richard II/Hamlet/Macbeth/King Lear all mixed into one," said Toolis, who retells that tale in his hit play The Confessions of Gordon Brown.

"He’s an incredibly fascinating figure because he is a good man with many bad faults," Toolis said.

"He had such potential, but failed so badly. It’s very hard to think of another figure like him who achieved the office of Prime Minister, but whose road was so rocky and disastrous and who fell like Lucifer."

Others have also spotted similarities to Shakespeare’s plays in the career trajectory of the minister’s son from Kirkcaldy who held back on his own ambitions to give the more electable Tony Blair a shot at power.

For Toolis, Brown's story is a real life Game of Thrones, only without the dragons and actual bloodshed.

"The crown crumbled into dust in his own hands and the reason for that lies within his own character," Toolis said.

Having made a career of looking at politics and politicians, you might expect Toolis to find dramatic potential in some other figures on the political stage. However, as far as he is concerned, few would make as interesting a subject as Gordon Brown.

"People have asked me why I don’t  do The Confessions of Alex Salmond, but I think if you burrowed into Alex, you wouldn’t find much," Toolis said.

"He doesn’t have the same complexities of Gordon Brown, whose religious background obviously comes into play with that sense of a mission.

"I’m always amazed by the level of hostility to Gordon Brown, but people still have this idea of him as a tormented soul. I don’t think they think that about Alex Salmond or even Tony Blair, who led this country into the worst foreign policy decision of the post-war era. You still get the impression he sleeps soundly in his bed."

The Confessions of Gordon Brown, written by Kevin Toolis and starring Billy Hartman is at the OneTouch Theatre, Eden Court,  on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th April at 8pm.

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