‘The Book of Mormon’ – A Short Review

Winner of the 2014 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical and created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (best known for South Park and Team America) in collaboration with Robert Lopez (co-composer/co-lyricist of Avenue Q), The Book of Mormon presents itself as a religious satire musical but at the same time it is so much more.

Lets put it out there right away, The Book of Mormon is not politically correct. In fact, it is quite possibly as far from being PC as possible. Within the walls of the Prince of Wales Theatre you are exposed to jokes about racism, bestiality, blasphemy and child-murder/rape. From a ‘traditional African send-off’ [which involved a black woman dressed Rafiki from The Lion King], to alluding to the infamous General Butt Naked, there is no stone that Parker and Stone leave unturned in their chase for musical success.

Yet, I left that theatre with one word ringing in my mind; clever. By no means might this opinion be shared and maybe I only hold it because I like to believe that there was more to The Book of Mormon than a musical designed to be obscene and vulgar, but I found it to be clever.

Unlike what the title suggests, the subject of this musical isn’t the easily ridiculed Mormonism, but rather on-going issues in Africa and, in particular, Uganda. The focus? Female Genitalia Mutilation. A practice outlawed in 2010 (a year before the musical’s release) but still much over-looked and oft-ignored by the media in Western Society. Other issues are brought to the fore as well; AIDs; diarrhea; lack of fresh water and food; murder; and child-rape, all dressed up as a musical satire. Clever, right?

Songs like ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’, ‘Turn it Off’, ‘Spooky Mormon Hell Dream’ and ‘Baptize Me’ were executed in swift, crisp, energetic fashion ensuring that this wasn’t a musical that leaves you feeling sad, or like a heavy burden has been placed on your shoulders. Instead, you’re subjected to laugh after laugh. A haunting truth dressed in a clever disguise ably supported by a cast led by Nic Rouleau (Elder Price), Brian Sears (Elder Cunningham), Alexia Khadime (Nabulungi) and Stephen Ashfield (Elder McKinley). Despite Elder Price’s solo ‘You and Me (Bust Mostly Me)’, this performance was a collective effort from the entire cast. Intricate dance routines were pulled off with aplomb and you could feel the audience being drawn into the strange and crude world that was being played out before our very eyes.

The Book of Mormon is one of the UK’s fastest growing musicals since being imported from America. Last minute availability is posted as for the next 4 weeks, whilst the incentive of booking 12 weeks in advance is no booking fees. It is no surprise then that ticket prices range from £37.50-£150.00.

Whilst this figure may be off-putting for some, if you’re going with an open mind you will leave invigorated. For any fans of South Park, Team America or Avenue Q then The Book of Mormon is well worth a watch.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity whilst it is still here!

Rating: 4.5/5

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