If you’re paying attention, dear Mouth reader, you would have noticed that I wrote an article a while back about what I was looking forward to seeing this year at the theatre. One of the events I talked about was The Book of Mormon; I believe I wrote ‘I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to make of it…I don’t know how this kind of humour is going to translate to the West End.’ Well, the answers are in this very article, so read on, curious one!
In short, I loved it and the South Park/Team America humour translated seamlessly. I could end there – it’s an incredibly pithy and succinct review, isn’t it? – but I’m instead going to elaborate, simply because I could wax lyrical about it.
The musical, as I mentioned before, follows two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, paired up fresh from Mormon school and sent on their first mission to Uganda, much to Price’s disappointment – his hopes were pinned on the consumerist haven of Orlando. Not-so-hidden here is the first of many jokes about the Mormons’ sexuality; at least half the characters were gay, with one basing a musical number around switching off his homosexual thoughts, ‘like a light switch.’
…a song that resembles ‘Hakuna Matata’ but is definitely not suitable for children…
Price, the golden boy and Cunningham, the short fat loser, travel to Uganda together, determined to baptise as many as possible and bring them to God, ‘cos God loves Mormons and he wants some more!’ However the scrotum-inhabiting maggots, prevalence of AIDS and terrifying General Butt-F****n Naked make this an incredibly difficult task. There’s also a historical reconstruction, meant in the loosest sense possible, of the origins of the Mormon religion and a song that resembles ‘Hakuna Matata’ but is definitely not suitable for children.
From the very beginning, the musical is absolutely hilarious. There are one or two jokes that fall flat simply because the music was too loud or the speech wasn’t clear enough, but this has to be expected in most musicals. The actors are brilliantly cast, with the audience forming affectionate attachments to them all so much so that the applause at the end was at a constant fever pitch rather than rising significantly for the principle actors.
…It’s not an insult to Mormonism so much as a bit of fun…
With Matt Stone and Trey Parker, we visit a Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, a mud hut in Uganda and a doctor’s surgery to remove a book from an anus – all related, I promise. It’s not an insult to Mormonism so much as a bit of fun, just asking a few questions and making a lot of very funny jokes, whatever your view on the religion. The musical was a very bright spot in my week, which is especially valuable considering it’s not something we can rely on the weather for.
The bottom line is this; if you want to spend two hours almost crying with laughter, get yourself a ticket for The Book of Mormon. They’ve just released 150,000 more tickets and extended the run until December, so you really have no excuse. It’s so good, the Mormon Church itself has taken out several pages of adverts in the programme and I’m thinking of going again; if that isn’t a high recommendation, I don’t know what is.