It seems apt that my first post in a blog about books and theatre should be reviewing a show about a book. The Book of Mormon first came to the UK in 2013 and I must admit that I dismissed it somewhat, having no real idea what it was about (besides Mormans). In the last year or so though I’ve heard great things about it from friends and in articles, so I was delighted when I received tickets to the show as a Christmas present.
For anyone that was as oblivious as me, the show was created by the minds that made South Park – which gives you some idea of the tone of the musical, although there were definitely people sat around us that thought it would be a wholesome story about God loving men…
Pre-Theatre Bread & Water:
Before the show we took advantage of some free Seedlip alcohol free cocktails from Grind Soho courtesy of Time Out which were delicious even if you can tell that they are not alcoholic – ideal for those trying to drink less or anyone cutting out alcohol altogether.
After we headed to Mildred’s, a veggie/vegan restaurant in Soho where you will definitely find a queue of people waiting to get in, so make sure you’re prepared because it is definitely worth the wait! I would highly recommend the Porcini Arancini and the Pumpkin Gnocchi (both classed as small plates, but very filling). For those looking for their meat fix though, the Mock Duck Bahn Mi is delicious and I couldn’t tell the difference. Plus the service is fab!
Tonight’s Performance is About to Begin:
As you walk in you are met by the view of a stunning proscenium arch which is filled with beautiful stained glass, but the second the curtain lifts you remember this isn’t going to be in anyway a serious musical. Silly, rude but incredibly clever songs will have you howling with laughter from start to finish.
The concept of sending two young Mormons to Africa in an attempt to convert the local population naturally lends itself to plenty of funny scenes, but it is also a powerful watch. There are clever correlations made between the naive Mormon characters and the casual racism and homophobia that occurs all around us today. Placing these more than questionable opinions into such outlandish scenarios allows the show to really highlight and make fun of racist and homophobic behaviour, uniting the audience against prejudice. Possibly the best part about this is that you don’t really notice them doing it, but simply reflect on the ideas when you leave.
Aside from the clever comedy and extravagant characters the show is also supported by a wonderful set that moves effortless around the stage to transport you from scene to scene. I was particularly fond of seeing inside Mafala and Nabulungi’s home, which is part of the backdrop until it is turned around to reveal its interior, creating the feeling that you are stepping behind the set into unseen territory.
The show is jam packed with musical numbers, dance routines and random historical references, keeping you guessing the whole way through. Each discipline on its own is wonderfully executed but combined they produce a hilariously well rounded show that left me crying with laughter.
Favourite Song: Turn It Off
Favourite Character: Elder McKinley played by Steven Webb
Favourite Scene: Villagers performance of the story of Joseph Smith
I honestly haven’t laughed this much in a long time, each scene had something to offer whether it was a ridiculous story line, outrageous song or hilarious piece of acting. The juxtaposition between each song sounding like it could be in a Disney film and its crude contents make it the perfect musical for reminding yourself not to take life too seriously. The bonus is that it also manages to bring across a subtle message of unity and acceptance. Just a warning though, you probably won’t get the songs out of your head for at least a week!