Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness (3 stars)

This article is from 2013

Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness

Happy talk from boundless raconteur

In his first Fringe show since 2010, Gyles Brandreth is on the search for happiness. Not necessarily for himself, as he seems quite content. That's particularly evident as he's happy to take to the stage wearing a jester's costume: he's clearly not left his TV days spent wearing novelty jumpers too far behind.

Nevertheless, he's keen to get to the bottom of his issue, dropping in on Jung and Freud's theories as well as plundering the royal family and his own parents for inspiration. A presenter, producer and former Conservative MP for Chester, it's no surprise that Brandreth is such a skilled raconteur. He's stuffed with anecdotes and even derives a big laugh from Thatcher's funeral.

For any younger audience members (of which there are some), the stories are engaging and elaborated on sufficiently that it doesn't matter if you're not entirely sure who they're about. In addition, there's a few hoary old gags thrown in, a bit of dancing and even space for a poignant moment remembering his schoolfriend, the actor Simon Cadell, who died too young.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug (not 7, 14), 4.20pm, £13–£17 (£11–£15).

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Actor, author, One Show reporter, former MP and government whip tours his new one man show about all things theatrical.