Culture picks: From Gordon Brown to Darwinism
Written and directed by Kevin Toolis
Where did it all go wrong for Gordon Brown? Who does he blame for his downfall? Why did the man who had sought the role of prime minister for so long end up occupying 10 Downing Street for such little time?
These questions, asked frequently by journalists and MPs with varying degrees of mischief, are now being posed in a new play: The Confessions of Gordon Brown.
Written by the award-winning Kevin Toolis, the one-man show is on its way to the Edinburgh Festival where, judging by the buzz it has already created after a short preview run in London, punters will be lining up with morbid curiosity to renew acquaintances with a man whom Toolis believes is the worst prime minister in over two centuries.
Ian Grieve plays the MP for Kirkcaldy, successfully taking on the challenging task of making over an hour in darkened room with the never knowingly light-hearted fallen leader an attractive prospect. And as the tragedy of Brown’s downfall unfolds, there’s plenty for the audience to think about – and clearly plenty for the former PM to muse over too. With his mastery of the economy, a determination to do his utmost, and a head of hair the envy of most middle aged men, surely the stage was set for greatness? It wasn’t, of course. This stage production, mixing satire, humour, and serious analysis – or perhaps confessions – offers an entertaining insight as to why.
31 July-26 August, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Festival
by Sam Macrory
What happens when the oil runs out?
Author, journalist and researcher Professor Chris Rhodes will discuss various aspects of the energy challenges we face today in this timely lecture. He will examine whether the current hype around fracking is justified, as well as how best to deal with the problem of peak oil and resource shortages. Do we need to change the way we behave, or will technology come to the rescue? Rhodes is sure to draw on his vast wealth of experience in the field of chemistry – having published over 200 articles and several books – to shed light on an undeniably pressing issue for governments and societies across the world.
28 July, Conway Hall, London
FILM SCREENING AND TALK
Creationism: A New Fundamentalism?
As part of Dulwich Picture Gallery’s lecture series Ideas that Changed the World there will be a special screening of Stanley Kramer’s 1960 film Inherit the Wind. The film is based on the so-called ‘monkey trial’ of Texas physics teacher John Scopes in 1925, who was arrested for teaching Darwinism. The documentation of Scopes’ case casts a dim view of creationism and the intellectual repression of the era. Dr Kenneth Wolfe will give a short talk introducing the film, explaining how the creationist school of thought has developed and how Darwinian ideas stand in opposition to it.
10 September, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Culture Now: Stuart Semple
Prolific British artist Stuart Semple shot to fame after selling more than 3000 pictures on eBay between the age of 19 and 21. The result of a near death experience, Semple’s passion for producing quirky, pop art-infused contemporary works led to his seminal exhibition HappyCloud at the Tate Modern in 2009. He now boasts an impressive list of collaborators, including Lady Gaga, The Prodigy and The Futureheads. This lunchtime conversation is a chance to get up close and personal with an intriguing young figurehead of the modern art world.
2 August, The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London
by Justin Cash