SHEFFIELD Hallam MP Nick Clegg will be portrayed as a tragic hero with hip hop swagger in a new musical play.
The Deputy Prime Minister is the main character in Nicked, which opens in Suffolk on April 29.
Using a book with some 18 rap and urban music songs, it charts the creation of the coalition after the 2010 general election up to the referendum on the Alternative Vote.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch a sneak preview of the show and a chat with Nick Clegg actor Jason Langley.
The play’s artistic director Steven Atkinson, 26, said: “There’s almost something Hamlet-esque about Nick Clegg. He’s trapped in an impossible situation and that makes for great drama.”
Atkinson said hip hop tunes are a good way to tell the coalition’s story because the verbal sparring of rappers is similar to Prime Minister’s Questions. And he believes political leaders, keen to play down their public schoolboy backgrounds, would naturally turn to urban sounds if they were musicians to prove they are cool. But the play, written by performance poet Richard Marsh with music by Natalia Sheppard aka MC Rogue Nouveau, is keen not to demonise its controversial protagonists.
Mr Clegg will be played by actor Jason Langley, 26, who says he has come to sympathise with the Lib Dem leader since taking the part.
He said: “It’s about getting under the skin of these characters that we all know so well because we see them every night on the news in our living room.
“Throughout the play there’s a really interesting struggle for Nick between doing what he believes in and doing what the system wants him to do, the dodgy deals and the backroom handshakes.”
The play asks the audience to take part in a live referendum on the Alternative Vote system and different endings have been rehearsed by the cast to match the outcome of the result.
Nicked will play at the HighTide Festival in Halesworth, Suffolk, until May 8 but Atkinson hopes it will receive offers to move to London’s West End.