Mercy Madonna of Malawi (4 stars)

This article is from 2009

Mercy Madonna of Malawi

African adoption musical

Like all the shows at The World this year, getting the Malawians to Edinburgh has been a huge undertaking. Joining a myriad of other performers, hailing from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Cuba and Brazil, the Africans inject a lively dose of their native culture into the Fringe, and we’re all the richer for it.

A mix of serious debate and light-hearted fun, Mercy Madonna of Malawi poses one central dilemma – should the eponymous pop star have been allowed to adopt two Malawian children, essentially circumnavigating the country’s laws? As the facts of Mercy James’ young life unfold, including the tragic death of her teenage mother, the two opposing sides state their case. Through live music, powerful vocals and traditional dance, they weigh up the argument – a better life for one of Malawi’s 1.5 million orphans, versus keeping a child immersed in the culture she was born in.

It’s a tough call for both the residents of Malawi and us, the audience. So when the large cast asks us to cast our vote at the end, by throwing our ticket into a bucket, no easy answer emerges – but at least we’re now armed with the facts, rather than tabloid speculation.

The World @ St George’s West, 0776 171 6929, until 31 Aug, 3pm, £10–£12 (£5–£10).

Mercy Madonna of Malawi

  • 4 stars

African dance musical. The true story of the girl Madonna left behind goes beyond the tabloids. A modern day African 'Annie'. The moral maze when celebrity and poverty collide. 'An emotional rollercoaster. Unmissable' (Malawi Times).

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