Don't know you thetans from your engrams? Stuck in a dead-end job and surrounded by suppresives? Our ragtag band of hirsute believers – otherwise known as comedy troupe George Glass – are here to guide you through the world of Scientology, with this self-proclaimed 'cult classic' of a comedy musical.
Recruitment isn't going well and the wide-eyed group are seeking enlightenment. With the help of some spiffy uniforms and hilarious costumes, they're going to take some tests and straighten out their 'terrible' personalities. Not forgetting their larger-than life founder L Ron Hubbard, who literally looms over most of the performance.
There's Susan, who "had cancer but shut her eyes and magicked away her tumour" and is desperate to throw herself at Scientology's founder when he reappears on Earth. Meanwhile Cookie is a few sandwiches short of a picnic and keeps referring to Elrond from Lord of the Rings as the founder. Next there's Steve-o, whose been fired from his job at the zoo after getting a little too fond of the animals.
This may not be the most serious production at the Edinburgh Fringe, but it's surprisingly insightful, and crams a lot of the background to Scientology in between some well-composed rock tunes. A guest appearance from a very sweaty Jesus works a treat, and there's some bawdy humour too – like Susan saying of LRH with a cheeky wink, "when he comes again, so will I".
It's a bit light on plot – apart from trying to open a suitcase to get the secrets of the world, not a lot happens – but this is more about each character's background. Arguably, the parody isn't as funny as I'd hoped (very possibly for legal reasons), and for some of the songs it was hard to hear the lyrics. That said, the music is high-quality, and the song about Xenu was particularly well done.
Scientology the Musical offers great live rock tunes, and an interesting take on what attracts people to an organisation that was legally recognised as a religion in 1954. There are some good laughs, and a lively atmosphere created by the impressively hairy performers.