Theatre review - The Book of MormonPosted on: 05 April 2013 by Agatha Cheng
The nine-time Tony Award winning musical from the creators of 'South Park' and 'Avenue Q' has finally arrived at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre.
The Tony Award winning musical that was deemed to be profane outrageous and offensive has opened to packed houses in London’s West End, it is of course The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre), directed by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker.
The two protagonists are young, zealous Elder Price and his socially challenged ‘companion’ Elder Cunningham who are sent on a Mormon mission to win converts in a run-down Ugandan village, where female circumcision is a way of life over three-quarters of the population has Aids and where the whole community is being terrorised by a thuggish one-eyed warlord. As Elder Price remarks “Africa is nothing like The Lion King”. Yet thanks to his audacity and the devil-may-care, yawn spinning skills of Elder Cunningham, the Mormons earn acceptance, even if their doctrine suffers in the process.
This savage romp with book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Matt Stone (creators of South Park) and Robert Lopez (creator of Avenue Q) veers from the silly to the brilliant and from the sublime to the ridiculous. The show constantly lampoons the do-gooding egomania of evangelicalism and the absolutist parables of the religious texts while simultaneously suggesting that religion itself is no bad thing. Although as a satire on religion it doesn’t have much bite, it is at times indecently funny – I found the sequence involving a tap-dancing group of closet homosexuals particularly hilarious – and has a jaunty musical score, though only three or four of the tunes are really memorable. The dance routines are performed with verve and vitality and pay affectionate tribute to the great Broadway musicals.
Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner excel as the narcissistic, highly strung Price and the dumpy, lying Cunningham respectively, two mismatched Mormons on personal journeys of self-discovery, and certainly make a great double act. Furthermore the production is stylishly and wittily designed by Scott Pask.
This then is a devilishly entertaining show, performed with undoubted flair, and if you can laugh when one character constantly declares “I have maggots in my scrotum!” this is definitely the show for you.
Box office: 0844 482 5110
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