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Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness at the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Fringe

Published by: Clare Brotherwood on 10th Aug 2013 | View all blogs by Clare Brotherwood

On 17 June at Birmingham University, Gyles Brandreth delivered the annual Baggs Memorial Lecture on ‘Happiness - what it is and how it may be achieved by individuals as well as nations’.

Such was the audience’s response that, just seven weeks later, his latest book, The 7 Secrets of Happiness: An Optimist’s Journey, has already been published.

Just 111 pages long, it is, nevertheless, packed full of facts, figures and philosophy, presented in an informed and entertaining style, along with anecdotes and glorious name-dropping (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elton John, The Duke of Edinburgh...).

But nothing can take the place of Glyes Brandreth in the flesh.

Looking For HappinessThe lecture had been the springboard for his latest solo show, Looking for Happiness - the culmination of a journey he has been on since his best friend, actor Simon Cadell, died 17 years ago - which he is performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before doing a national and international tour.

Dressed as a jester, his hat rather askew, he bursts onto the stage with his usual aplomb, a figure of fun or, as he describes himself, a jester of joy.

Vivacious, energetic and perhaps just a little bit manic, this writer, broadcaster, actor, former MP and Government Whip, always gives more than his money’s worth and, for the next hour, thrills us with more unique anecdotes involving additional name-dropping and worthy impersonations. He also performs an hilarious four-act melodrama (in 90 seconds!) and introduces a bit of audience participation - beware those sitting in the front row!

But these are just little asides. For the purpose of Gyles’ latest show is the pursuit of happiness and, unusually, there are a couple of times when he almost moves me to tears. He gives some good advice too, courtesy of the late ‘media shrink’, Dr Anthony Clare. But in order to learn the seven secrets of happiness you’ll have to see the show or/and read the book. I promise you won’t be disappointed - and you may end up being happier!

Gyles Brandreth: Looking for Happiness continues at the Pleasance Courtyard until 26 August and then goes on a nationwide tour 226 0000

0131 556 6550


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Thanks, Clare. This sounds like a really good fun night out.
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