Mercy Madonna of Malawi, The World @ St George's West, Edinburgh
Tuesday 11 August 2009
People are dying in a Malawian world/ And I am a Malawian girl". It's not quite the joyful paean to excess and consumerism that Madonna had in mind. But then the Material Girl also probably never imagined that one day she'd be played on stage by a 6ft tall Malawian man wearing a blonde wig, giant star-shaped sunglasses and a silky pink nightie.
Arriving at the Fringe after a tour of Malawi, Mercy Madonna of Malawi is an exuberant musical about the Queen of Pop's controversial adoption of four-year-old Mercy James earlier this year. Written by Toby Gough and performed by a Malawian troupe, the show takes a witty yet affecting look at the story, from Mercy's birth through the legal dramas and up to an imagined future in the West for the young girl.
We hear from Madge herself, Mercy's once-absent father (who announces his arrival back on the scene with a bold "I'm the Daddy" singalong chorus), journalists, campaigners and, in a particularly boisterous court-room, the judge. Though it avoids reaching any firm conclusions as to the ethics of a wealthy Western woman coming to a poor African country in search of a baby, the production doesn't pull its punches, with one striking scene having Madonna pitch up to the orphanage, shopping trolley in tow, to be greeted by a host of nappy-clad babies all wearing "Adopt Me" T-shirts.
John Kielty's easy score mixes Madonna's strongest hits with Malawian rhythms and the traditional lyricism of musical theatre, which the multi-talented cast performs with verve and charm. There's some thrilling dancing, too. An enjoyable and eye-opening hour.
To 31 August (07761 716 929)
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Pottermore: JK Rowling writes new Harry Potter story featuring 'greying' 33-year-old wizard
JK Rowling to publish new Harry Potter story online for Halloween
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt stars in visceral and brutally ugly drama that reminds us war is hell
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
Putin accuses US of causing global instability