I have no idea why I wanted to see The Book of Mormon so much, I don’t think I’ve had a conversation with anyone who’s seen it, maybe it’s all the signs on the underground as you travel up the escalator creeping into your psyche, and you mention to someone you really want to see it, and they do to, and you look at ticket prices, and it doesn’t seem such a good idea anymore.
But patience is a virtue as they say, as is good planning, and I don’t know why one of the dates I looked at had considerably lower prices, but I managed to get a great ticket for a great price. And it was definitely worth it.
Written by South Park writers, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon definitely brings the crude and zany adult humour to the London stage. And whilst some of the songs have the 2-second intake of breath ahead of laughter, there is much comedy to be found not only from the songs and script but the characterisation.
Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and Elder Cunningham (Brian Sears) have the most fantastic roles as the central characters, sent as missionaries to Uganda, the required comedy element created by this unlikely pairing. Both are absolute fantastic in creating humour and taking you on their journeys, with Elder Price believing he is born to achieve great things and Elder Cunningham looking for a friend to offset his need to embellish the truth. The journey to a township with an opening anthem of ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ sets the scene for the challenge ahead.
And if this anthem chiding religion is the first introduction to seemingly inappropriate humour so the script manages to interweave war, AIDS, baby rape, FGM, and homosexuality.
Whilst writing this, it seems slightly wrong to type- “and it was good”- but that’s the odd thing, it did everything with humour, neatly sidestepping discrimination, and when the show also manages to feature Lion King references and appearances from Darth Vader and Yoda, it really does manage to keep the gasps and laughter in balance.
The Book of Mormon was what anyone who has seen South Park and a musical would probably expect, a little more explosive when you’re watching it on stage rather than on a tv.
Like every good musical it has the feel good, friendship and love overriding all. It has the memorable characters and songs, especially in Stephen Ashfield’s Elder McKinley and ‘Turn if Off’, but yes, it won’t be the one where I nip off to buy the soundtrack to listen to with my children.