Edinburgh Festival Fringe cabaret review: The Church of Malcolm, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Fiona Shepherd.
There is handclapping and communal singing and hands raised in adoration in the Church of Malcolm. There is a guest preacher – Ashley Storrie delivered her righteous ruminations on internet dating at the service I attended – and there is even an angel called “fat Mandy” who reached out to pastor Malcolm Doherty in his time of need.
Doherty lacks the controlling charisma and rampant egomania to be an effective cult leader – he is more benevolent cheerleader than deluded doomsayer – but he does have the hippyish tunes in abundance, blithe, even whimsical pastoral psychedelic pop songs, clearly influenced by The Beatles and early Bowie, on which he is joined in pre-recorded harmony by his music biz pals Rumer and David McAlmont.
Most of these ditties, including the devotional I’m Alive, were written while Doherty was recovering from the brink of extinction last year. While still in hospital, he had a morphine-enhanced vision to go forth and spread love through music. Yet he still insists this is not a religious gathering. If not, it’s a pretty spiritual non-religious experience, albeit in a sterile lecture theatre rather than a sonic cathedral.
Assembly George Square Studios (Venue 17) until 23 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 13 August 2015
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