Kelly McCaughan: Catholic Guilt | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Kelly McCaughan: Catholic Guilt

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Kelly McCaughan had a devout Catholic education, and she turned out just fine. 

Only kidding. As seen in this raucous hybrid of physical comedy and burlesque, she’s now a lascivious showoff with myriad issues. Catholic Guilt is a raunchy, unhinged clapback at every sexual and social hang-up instilled into her by years of religious indoctrination, which makes for an outrageously entertaining hour.

Performing in a confronting ‘sexy schoolgirl’ outfit, she intends to scandalise the god-fearing and proudly find a place in the world that her strict upbringing denied her. She runs through the tenets of Catholicism and her experience of its rituals, starting from her first communion, which was, in her impressionable young mind, like marrying Christ.’  Jesus’s body was inside my body,’ she purrs, trowelling on the innuendo. Yes, it’s that kind of show…

We are liberally doused in holy water as she recaps the Ten Commandments, only after McCaughan shared the eye-opening fact that 86 per cent of such water contains bacteria from faecal matter. Yum! Then her sexual awakening is re-enacted with a very awkward bit of audience participation.

Making the crowd uneasy is her modus operandi. ‘Do I make you uncomfortable,’ she says breathlessly, maintaining an intense eye contact while writhing and gyrating in her ridiculously short skirt. That the Jesus of Catholic iconography has such a ripped bod further confuses the erotic and religious fervours boiling away in McCaughan’s pubescent psyche.

It’s a bold, full-on performance, especially its extravagant, in-your-face finale. More seriously, she comments that all the Catholic guilt piled on to her ‘didn’t allow me to be a full human’, which is the sadness of it all. But McCaughan’s not one to wallow if there’s a slutty dance to be had.

Everyone who watches this show is surely going to hell. But if she’s there, it’ll be a blast…

Review date: 28 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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