MP's New Suit

MP’s wives in the MP’s New Suit. Photo: Supplied

MP’s New Suit: Musical theatre production’s satirical swipe at SA politics

The musical theatre production is based on Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’

MP's New Suit

MP’s wives in the MP’s New Suit. Photo: Supplied

South African’s get ready for a play like no other. ‘The MP’S New Suit’ will have a showcase reading at the Artscape Arena in Cape Town on Sunday, 27 October 2019 at 18:00.

The musical theatre production is a political satire based on Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ The play is probably the first of its kind on the South African landscape.

What is the MP’s New Suit about

MP's New Suit
The MP’s New Suit lyricist Télan Hamer and composer Attie Esterhuizen. Photo: Sean Shannon

It delves into our country’s politics and current affairs with a comedic outlook well-known to South African citizens. Whenever something unpleasant happens in our country, for example, when former President Jacob Zuma and the Nkandla drama unfolded, Mzansi people found a way to laugh at their own troubles.

The MP’s New Suit reading was directed by Roy Sargeant with musical direction by José Dias. The team also consists of composer Attie Esterhuizen and lyricist/book writer, Télan Hamer.

Sargeant explained the work thus:

“The MP’s New Suit is a comedic take on contemporary South African politics, full of good laughs and delightful music.”

Roy Sargeant, Director of The MP’s New Suit

The director also gave a bit of a teaser on what to expect on the day of the reading:

“We are so looking forward to sharing this showcase reading, taking the musical from page to stage and obtaining feedback from the audience.”

Roy Sargeant, Director of The MP’s New Suit

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A synopsis of the MP’s New Suit

MP's New Suit
MP in the MP’s New Suit. Photo: Supplied

The MP’s New Suit was set in today’s South Africa and tells the story of “a self-absorbed minister who has an acute obsession with clothing and his appearance.” The MP has two wives, Ayize and Ayanda, “who sympathise with him only for his money.”

In his office, audiences will also meet his secretary, Clever, who appears to be the good guy. MP finds out that he didn’t make it to the front page of the news after his latest media appearance.

The discovery outrages him and he blames the snub on “the state of his attire.” MP decides to remedy this by putting out a “tender to design the most fabulous suit ever made.”

He intends on wearing the attire “at his upcoming press conference where he will announce that he will be running for president.” That’s when the audience will meet The Brothers Bullsheeta, who are described as “seemingly humble but sly and cunning clothiers.”

What inspired the play

MP's New Suit
Clever in the MP’s New Suit. Photo: Supplied

The creators of the play revealed that another musical inspired the MP’s New Suit. The idea with this feature was to have “a shorter musical for a much smaller cast, with simpler staging” to create a final production that would be “more cost-effective for a producer.”

The other inspiration for the play was South Africa’s political climate. The creators explained:

“We wanted to write something topical and punchy, and something that all South African’s could relate to, so we turned to our government for help.”

MP’s New Suit creators

The reason for using the Hans Christian Andersen play

MP's New Suit
The Brothers Bul-sheeta in the MP’s New Suit. Photo: Supplied

The Andersen play was said to be one of Esterhuizen’s favourite fairytales. The creators loved Andersen’s overall message and they noted how rulers like the one in the original play still exist today.

Knowing that most great musicals tend to be based on “stories, fairytales” and folklore that people know or can relate to, they chose the Danish author’s play for the same reason.

Is the MP based on someone specific

The MP’s New Suit creators revealed that the MP character was just “poster boy for every bad and corrupt politician or dictator.” They described the MP as “a mixture of all of the bad-eggs sculpted into one very bad egg.”

The reason for the play being created now

They chose to produce the play now because it is “topical” and could remain so for a while. The creators also shared how they saw a “gap in the South African Musical Theatre Market when it comes to original works.”

Enter the MP’s New Suit to bring something proudly South African to the country’s audience.

The take-home message for viewers

“Like in Hans Christian Andersen’s original story, The MP’s New Suit shows us that if we do not call out the corruption, the mismanagement, the bad-apples, if we do not try and expose it, that it will continue in perpetuity and we as a Country will not be able to move forward unless we take a stand against wrong authority and speak out.”

MP’s New Suit creators

The creators described the play as having a “more sinister, and perhaps deeper message.” However, they did note that it was a “joyful show.”