The Book of Mormon has made it into my list of Top Five Favourite Musicals.
Possibly even my Top Three.
I was blown away by the originality, comedy, music and cast of this phenomenal show, and I’m going to attempt to sum up why.
A religious satire, The Book of Mormon is the story of two young Mormons, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, during their mission trip to Uganda. Whilst in Uganda, they attempt to introduce the people they meet to Mormonism, whilst also going on personal journeys, questioning and learning more about their faith.
Firstly, let’s establish the fact it’s from the creators of South Park – if you’re not up for that sense of humour, there’s no point booking a ticket. Is it sometimes crude humour? Yes. Does it push the boundaries? Yes. Do you sit there thinking ‘I shouldn’t be laughing at this’? Yes. But is it clever, satirical and absolutely hilarious? Yes, yes and yes. It’s offensive, but it’s universally offensive; every character is a parody, and all groups are laughed at.
I want to focus another moment on how clever the book and lyrics are of this musical. The humour is so well crafted, and there are so many cultural references and one-liners that minute after minute of the show if funny as it is gripping. Story-wise, it’s great, and character-wise, I was hooked.
I also loved that the writers’ passions for musical theatre came through – so many songs allude to or parody songs from other musicals. Some are very obvious, such as a certain Lion King favourite, and some are more subtle, such as nods to Wicked’s Defying Gravity and even The Sound of Music’s I Have Confidence. If you don’t know and love lots of musical soundtracks inside out, you will still love the show. But if you DO, it just adds a whole other layer of appreciation for the skill of what’s been created.
‘Hello’ sets the scene for the rest of the show to perfection. I love how the layers build as more and more boys join in, and the uniform grins of the men on stage left me confident from song one that we were in for a treat.
Nic Rouleau played the role of Elder Price with a commanding air of confidence, and delivered obnoxious line after self-obsessed line brilliantly. As he began to doubt himself, we as an audience were with his every moment, and ‘I Believe’ was a real stand-out moment of the show. The balance of heart and humour in this song is spot-on. ‘You and Me (But Mostly Me)’ was another of my favourites, and Rouleau’s voice does songs like this justice.
Beautifully complimenting Rouleau is the other half of our main duo, Brian Sears as Elder Cunningham. How anyone could fail to fall for this bumbling, socially awkward, desperate-to-please boy is beyond me. Cunningham gets some great one-liners, and his story of growing up and realising his own self-worth is a touching one.
The other cast member I want to mention is the stunning Alexia Khadime, who plays the role of Nabulungi. Her voice was fantastic, and she portrayed the youth and innocence of the role convincingly. ‘Sal Tlay Ka Siti’ was a powerful ballad, and showcased Khadime’s voice well, and I can’t review this show without mentioning my absolute favourite song: ‘Baptize Me’.
Khadime and Sears stole the show with this duet, where Cunningham is welcoming Nabulunghi into the church. The connotations throughout were hilarious, and the wordplay was done so cleverly. They acted the song with such passion, and it needed to be done with confidence to pull off the humour! I’m not going to say more than that, as you need to see it to fully appreciate it, but let me tell you I can’t get it out of my head, and I still laugh every time I hear it.
I could go on and on, but really my message is clear: get a ticket. I was so impressed, and cannot get the songs out of my head. A fantastic musical.