Mary and Joseph disco down to Bethlehem
Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:45AM EDT
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Joseph and Mary boogie on down to
Bethlehem with their loud-mouthed donkey in a disco version of the Nativity that
is pure kitsch.
If awards were handed out at the Edinburgh Fringe for camp
humor, then "Discotivity" would be a leading contender for top honors at the
world's largest and zaniest arts festival.
Michelle McManus, winner of the
reality TV talent show "Pop Idol", was understandably nervous about taking on
the part of the Virgin Mary in the boisterous production.
"I was very
apprehensive. I didn't want to get involved in anything sacrilegious. But the
script is hilarious," said the 27-year-old Scottish singer making her musical
Understated subtlety is not the show's strong point.
Herod, plotting the massacre of the innocents after the birth of Jesus, gyrates
to "Disco Inferno."
When Joseph and Mary find there is no room at the inn,
queue camp chorus of Village People offering the "YMCA" as alternative
As the couple puzzle over a name for their child, Mary goes
into labor, doubles up in pain and shouts "Jesus Christ!"
The musical, which
is to transfer to London after Edinburgh, was written by British journalist Toby
Rose. He said of the show that has a baby Jesus wheeled around stage in a
supermarket trolley: "It's all done in the best possible taste.
has loads of jokes but we like to think it is theologically sound. Its heart is
in the right place. We want people to come out thinking it was funny, not
McManus has had a checkered career since winning Pop Idol in 2003
with 6.5 million phone-in votes.
A number one hit single was swiftly followed
by an autobiography and an album. But when the second single only reached number
14 in the charts, the record company dropped her.
"They had always thought
the British public would see sense at the end of the day and not pick this big
fat cow as the winner," said McManus, cheerfully mocking her girth.
contrast is striking with "American Idol" contestants who produced Grammy winner
Kelly Clarkson, Country Music Award winner Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson,
who failed to make the 2004 finals but won an Oscar for her performance in the
But McManus, whose career since Pop Idol has ranged from
radio presenter to TV comedy cameo roles, has no regrets about her 15 minutes of
fleeting fame: "What goes up must come down. It's longevity that's important to
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