The slightly sing-song cadence and rhythm of Theresa May’s catchphrase when she says these words…
“Brexit…means…Brexit. (Pause) And WE’RE going to make a success of it.” (1.10, this video)
…has been rattling around in my head for a few months. It sounds like she’s about to break into a full-on jazz hands number.
Waiting around in an airport with my partner, sleep deprived, this idea became a quite lengthy synopsis for a very terrible production of ‘Brexit: The Musical’.
Waiting now for this to catch the attention of some big players in the West End and at some point I’m sure the royalties will come pouring in.
Dark, empty bar with just one barman silently cleaning glasses. An old man sits alone in the spotlight at a table, nursing a pint. He wears a tattered shirt, no jacket and a Union Jack tie.
Another old man, better dressed in a posher suit, enters. The spotlight follows him as he slowly approaches the other characters.
Posh Man: I say, is anyone sitting here? [does double take] Oh. Farage. [pause] It’s been a long time. How…are you?
Farage: Cameron. Well, I’ll be damned. How have you been?
Cameron: Well, for the last twenty years I’ve had to watch the country go to the dogs, so you know since your little antics forced us into that wonderful referendum. Not brilliant. [note to self, make this bit of exposition less obvious, more satirical, better in general]. However, Sam and I have a wonderful time-share in Abuja, so at least we can get away from it every now and then. Yourself?
Farage: I don’t know what you mean by going to the dogs. Just because our climate emissions skyrocketed after the EU was no longer able to stop our big businesses from complying with standards, and we now all have to wear gas masks to go to Sainsbury’s? It’s a small price to pay for our freedom. [again, note to self: check actual facts to make this climate change satire stick better] You always were a stick-in-the-mud, Cameron.
[calls to barman]
Another pint please mate. Will you have a drink with me? We might as well let bygones be bygones. Two old men like us. Pint of bitter?
Cameron: [walks over, sits down next to Farage] Is there any Champagne? Or maybe Spanish wine? What about some Jagermeister? [Barman shaking head] Oh no…I keep forgetting. All of that is gone now.
[strains of soft piano begin]
We can’t get no Champagne
No, never again
No baguettes, no croquettes, no tapas on beaches in Spain
It’s all gone, down the drain
My misguided ventures for some loony back-benchers has left us indentured, in pain
Farage: [Chimes in, holding up pint] Cheers!
Barman: [to Cameron] Sir, you look familiar. Have we met?
Cameron: [sadly sings] I’ll tell you who I am. It all started like this ….
[cut to scene 2]
You get the idea. Other scene synopses:
Scene 2: Leadup to referendum. Jaunty upbeat number titled “Of course they won’t vote ‘Leave!” Cameron and Osborne march through the hallways of Number 10 batting away overly big folders of polling numbers shoved in their faces by staff.
Meanwhile we introduce the love interest- a couple of PAs, one working for Johnson, the other for Cameron. Their eyes meet across a meeting table, etc. Love song: “I wanna leave the EU/but I don’t wanna leave you”. (Maybe they can be racially diverse- might be too much- back burner ?)
Scene 3: Inside Number 10. Journalists retreat after press conference.
Sam Cam (overly sexy, holding mayonnaise) asks Cameron ‘Why? Why the Referendum?’
Sets up for Cameron to sing his ‘I want’ ballad: “I’m gonna be the Tory, at the centre of the story…but if I’m gonna get there, I gotta gamble, and I gotta win’. Sings directly to audience. Climax with large chorus of people. Note: Invest heavily in staging for this bit to create an amazing ‘I’ve fixed Britain’ Cameron vision for the future, big skyscrapers full of laughing people in suits, and happy farmers with cows etc. Big model trains labelled HS2 zipping back and forth. Idea: Maybe have zip wire so Cameron can fly- he could dip into multi-cultural but socially cohesive playground and pick up a little girl and sing in harmony with her. (NB Must pick her up in a magical Peter Pan way, not a creepy paedophile way)
Scene 4: Press conference with Leave and Remain camps in dramatic showdown. Journalists all flinging questions at politicians according to character (eg: Guardian columnist sings sad wail over and over ‘What about the Nooooooooorth….what about the hard-working teachers”). Murdoch papers all represented by wooden puppets like the ones in the Lion King, singing about corporate tax and press regulation. [def not too obvious? No it’s good, it’s good satire]. Fast talking, high quality political dialogue like the West Wing set to music.
However, whole scene interrupted and drowned out by giant comedy blonde Boris Johnson riding up on a big blue bicycle, and Nigel Farage riding in from the other side in a giant red bus with both of them singing “Three hundred and fifty million, for our NHS/ Take cash from Brussels bureaucrats and spend it on MS”.
Press conference drowned out. Scene closes with Theresa May wandering on stage by herself, as all the others run off singing loudly, behind Boris.
Johnson: [shouting] Come on, Theresa! Are you with us? We’re going to campaign!
May: [shouts loudly] I’ll be with you….[Johnson runs off. She whispers to audience] …when you win. But you won’t.
[heart-warming solo: “Theresa May, Theresa will/
I’ll do it on my own, I’ll take the reins, I’ll climb the hill/
When they’re all gone.”
Ends with dramatic joyful high note. Good if she can tap dance.]
Scene 5: Obama comes to UK, sings cool, downbeat song about future of UK trade partnerships with US called “Back of the line” with humorous interjections of Cameron querying ‘you mean- back of the queue?” [Note to producers/musical directors- don’t try and culturally appropriate for the Obama song unless you can actually get some US rapper type people involved in the development phase so we don’t screw it up]
Scene 6: Referendum Day
Song: “In or out” . Ballot boxes, front of stage. Different people file past representing different sections of society, each sing a line as they cast their vote. Range from humour to pathos. V V satirical and cutting. Don’t shy back from the issues here.
Corbyn shuffles past at one point, everyone dramatically drops back and waits for him to sing about which way he is voting but he doesn’t sing anything and there’s just a completely blank space in the song. [This will def get a big laugh. Make sure the music actually pauses completely]
Note: possible rhymes to use in this song for dramatic/comedy effect:
- Elite/food to eat
- Australian-style points system/missed ’em
- Left-wing media/Wikipedia
- Obama/big pharma
- National Health/Cash in all our wealth [it’ll work if they sing it quickly]
- I’m not racist but/face is shut?/gays and smut? Come back to this …
[Interval- definitely sell merch- people will want the Murdoch puppets, etc.]
Scene 1, Act II
Results Day. Flashback again, while Cameron’s still telling the story in the bar to Farage. Probably dramatic multi-media type stuff here happening around Cameron’s head on hanging screens, like newsreaders, etc? Maybe people dressed in little bluebirds like the Twitter icon shouting updates about the pound falling. Also. Make sure to include a bit from the two love interest people on opposing sides whose relationship is now torn apart by the news [also put more stuff about them in earlier scenes, we kind of forgot about them].
Farage intervenes with his ‘I won’ song that involves him making farting noises at a sad little guy waving a European flag. I’m not saying hire an actor of restricted height, but I’m not saying don’t, either.
Farage is swept offstage on the shoulders of cheering middle-aged white men holding little Union Jacks. (Phalanx of pensioners too?)
Song finishes with quiet sad solo from Cameron…extra pathos, finishes with line ‘I never thought it would come to this.’. He shuffles off stage holding a limp croissant and trailing the EU flag behind him.
Theresa May is standing behind a podium in a boring grey suit, surrounded by the journalists from before plus Cabinet members looking worried and talking/texting. All of them are shouting in a big babble. ‘Theresa, what are we going to do.’ Etc.
Theresa: QUIET! [pause] Listen to me. [All shut up and look at her expectantly]
Brexit… means ….Brexit. [her leg shoots out from behind podium- it’s unexpectedly wearing fishnet tights and sparkly red high heels] And…. WE’RE …GOING TO MAKE A SUCCESS OF IT.
[music kicks in- upbeat big band stuff- May begins to dance out from behind podium, big dramatic moment…. lots of exciting kicks, jazzy trumpets and May surrounded by dancing girls in flouncy skirts, maybe acrobats? things descend from ceiling- British flags?? Lighting gets exciting, lots of extras.
Osborne [sings]: What about big business? how will we make them stay?
May: [sings] We’ll offer them low taxes, they’ll be stupid not to pay! Brexit is as Brexit does and Brexit is the way!
Journalist from Mail: What about the immigrants? How will you make them go?
May: We’ll Brexit Brexit Brexit them until they can’t say no!
Corbyn: [muffled intervention]
Everyone else: What?
Corbyn: Nothing…. [everyone else keeps dancing past him]
[etc. song continues with journalists and Cabinet raising key issues, at first each of them is sad and serious but soon May’s jaunty singing and all the finger snapping and upbeatness of music gradually makes all the journalists and other Cabinet members join in- at one point the Guardian journalist sings the ‘What about the North’ thing again over the top-Theresa May walks up to him and says ‘Don’t worry, my poppet, I’ll take care of them” at which point Guardian journalist leaps into May’s arms and she cuddles him like a small child and they sing in harmony- sort out symbolism later if this seems weird?
Whole song gets louder and louder until it’s a massive dramatic chorus. Very rousing. Boris Johnson again cycles past on big blue bicycle and Theresa May gives him a big hat saying ‘Foreign Minister’ and pushes him onto a big rotating Earth model, where he performs little somersaults in front of her.
Scene ends with chorus girls doing leg kicks in front of Theresa while she sings in Monroe style “I’ll kick off Article 50, and it’ll be nifty….”]
Yeah so, not sure how this whole thing should end, but I’m leaning towards a final scene where Donald Trump is reminiscing (from space maybe? Yes that’s good that’s good) about how he bought what was left of the United Kingdom, after Brexit caused the destruction of the nation. He’s used it to house all the immigrants he threw out of the USA when he was elected. Maybe he bricked them in with a giant wall. Doesn’t quite work because he’s too old though to be reminiscing about it in twenty years time and still in power.
Maybe it could be Ivanka?