Review by Tatum Stafford
As we were ushered into the cosy theatre space in the Pleasance Courtyard, and were handed instruction cards and white lab coats to wear, it seemed a very unique and interactive performance awaited us.
Our host for the evening, Moses Storm, entered to much fanfare, including multiple masks and a bell, which many of us were told to stand and acknowledge via our cards. As he began his set, we started to learn a bit about Moses’ upbringing in an admittedly unsuccessful doomsday cult.
Moses is a natural storyteller, and used visual aids on a screen behind him to paint us a picture of his childhood; much of which was spent on a bus, being homeschooled, and being told to approach strangers to convert them to the cult. The show also dives into cult-adjacent topics, like Netflix documentaries, and the power of influence over people, both of which are interspersed between stories about Moses and his family. We learnt about the creation of the cult, how his family got involved, and the impact it continues to have on him as an adult in 2023.
The show itself is interesting, and offers a very unique perspective into the phenomena of cults. Moses’ background as a stand-up comic created a really engaging and entertaining set, and aspects of audience interaction were used to break up the stories quite effectively.
Moses frequently commented about how warm the venue was, and to be honest, this show ran over its advertised length (by about 20-25 minutes), and the combination of this, the heat and the late showtime made it a little tricky to stay engaged and present throughout the latter part of the show. This was particularly pertinent when Moses shared stories about the current struggles he has with the trauma of the cult, and how it affects his relationships to this day – I feel if these segments, which were really touching and important, were moved to earlier in the show they may have more of a lasting impact with the audience.
When the show did finish, around midnight, we had the chance to form our own ‘perfect cult’, with a name, mission and afterlife defined by a few rounds of humorous audience participation. We all collectively marched into the courtyard, chanting in matching lab coats, which I’m sure made quite an amusing sight for those having a drink outside.
This show needs a bit of tightening up, but has a really strong concept and a very interesting perspective from Moses. His is a very unique and quite sad story, and I’d encourage going along to hear it for yourself this Fringe season.