Tony Blair in knockout one man show at Edinburgh Festival

elston2-logo35Howard Elston, our show biz reporter, reviews the Mid East Envoy’s stand out, stand up review at The Fringe.

Lord Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of what was once Britain, delivers a five star performance here in Edinburgh (writes Sir Howard over a haggis supper with lashings of Tennent’s lager and chip-flavoured crisps)

The review, cheekily called The Kaliph of Komedy, is laced with great anecdotes, loads of name-dropping quips and a terrific use of puppetry and mime to explain the dire state of the Mid East.

'I lie'

‘I lie’

Never shy of referring to his international list of friends, Lord Tony can get away with such lines as “George W and I were in the hot-tub looking out over the Damascus skyline when the first rockets fell from the hills…”

As Mid East Commander, the special envoy has already made 2234 visits to this benighted region. So he knows a thing or two. And dressed in his standard battle dress fatigues offset by an off the shoulder denim man-bag and an Aston Villa jersey, he cut quite the internationally famous figure.

The ex PM also uses cardboard cut outs and power point to describe to the intimate late night audience just why he is the only man in the world to sort out the Israeli-Gaza-Isis-Hamas-Syrian-Shia/Sunni mess.

“It really is quite simple,” he chatted as he sipped a light white wine and nibbled on a goats cheese frittata, “I just use the same techniques I used as Prime Minister.

“I lie.”

The only weak point in an otherwise faultless 90 minutes is when he turns cabaret crooner to describe his emotions after lying to Parliament, lying to Lord Leveson and lying to Gordon Brown about the Number 10 succession. But that is a minor point.

Lord Tony’s one man show continues after his Edinburgh debut to tour Baghdad, Haifa, Kirkuk, Teheran and then hopefully to North Korea where he is advising on such issues as prison reform and legitimate ways to liaise with a free press.