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)
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Edward Heath 'raped 12 year-old boy at Mayfair flat'
- 2 Porn block in India: hundreds of sexual websites banned, internet outraged
- 3 Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale divorce: One of music industry’s most enduring couples announce split after 12 years of marriage
- 4 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
- 5 Will Smith 'divorce': Actor forced to respond to tabloid rumours after 'condolence' messages
Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
Game of Thrones season 6: 'A Song of Ice and Fire should be finished by 1998,' said George R. R. Martin, 'but don't hold your breath'
Sherlock season 4: Benedict Cumberbatch will be 'a lot less brattish' in Victorian special
Find out what song was number one on the day you were born
The top 20 books every student should read before leaving secondary school
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Labour leadership race: Jeremy Corbyn could be the next Prime Minister, says Ken Clarke