The Book of Mormon is at Birmingham Hippodrome until March 28th and it’s fantastic.
I knew there had been some controversy when this smash hit musical, written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone first arrived on the scene but it is so funny, so clever and so catchy it was bound to be the huge hit that it is.
Directed by Casey Nicholas and Trey Parker, the Book of Mormon tells the story of Elder Cunningham (Conner Pierson) and Elder Price (Robert Colvin) as they set off to Uganda for their two year mission to spread the word of Jesus. They arrive to a small town in Uganda where they discover that 80% of the townsfolk have AIDS and in an attempt to rid themselves of this life altering disease the town folk have been led to believe that sex with a virgin will cure them. It sounds grim, but it’s so beautifully handled it really isn’t nearly as offensive as it could be. It takes some clever writing to make child rape, AIDS and female genital mutilation into a fun show. I’m not going to even begin to try to explain how, in one scene the audience have Adolf Hiter, two characters from Star Wars and a lieutenant from Star Trek on stage at the same time.
With lots of laughs and some of the catchiest songs I have ever encounter (i still have Two by Two playing in my head four days after seeing this) we find out that Elder Cunningham is prone to make things up when he’s unsure of the actual facts. He’s not malicious, he does this from a very pure place. He wants to make things right so he tells the townsfolk that they must not have sex.
The costumes were truly wonderful too. I particularly loved it when the townsfolk put on a play for some Elders that are visiting from Utah and they dress how they think Americans of old dressed. Using flour sacks as aprons and cola bottles as hats, it’s funny, it’s bright and it’s ultimate escapism.
Conner Pierson has terrific comedy timing and very much reminded me of a young Jack Black. I do hope he doesn’t mind being compared to one of this centuries great comedy actors.
Robert Colvin, whom I have seen in Dirty Dancing was perfect as Elder Price, tall, handsome and self assured, he was just like the Mormons I have had at my door.
Will Hawksworth as Elder McKinley really had me laughing out loud, he played camp to perfection. With such a huge cast, you really have to be something to standout and yet everyone did have their moment to shine.
I could go on to describe how Nicole-Lily Baisden as Nabulungi has a beautiful singing voice or Ewan Cummings as Malala Hatimbi had the entire audience crying with laughter, especially when he sings Hasa Diga Eebowai. Yes it’s rude, but so long as you’re not offended by shall we say flowery language, then you really are in for a treat. Yes the F-bomb and the C- word are used. I would take my 15 year old granddaughter to see this, but it’s not for me to say if this is suitable viewing for your family.
For what it’s worth, there was a huge standing ovation and there was even an advert inside the program from the actual Church of the Latter Day Saints. I’m sure if they can enjoy the humour in Book of Mormon than we can all enjoy this phenomenon.
If you can get tickets then I’d definitely recommend you go see this. Here is the link for the theatre. But from what I understand it’s almost sold out.