The Book of Mormon has been rated best musical of the 21st century. This is quite a statement, isn’t it?
That’s what I thought too!
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I heard a lot of good things about this musical for years now. It actually all started in 2016. I was living in Australia back then. A friend of mine went to New York on a holiday and saw it on Broadway. It was quite new at the time. She liked it so much that we decided to buy it as a gift to the wonderful people that welcomed us into their home down under.
Anyway, enough with that.
Long story short, I heard good things about the Book of Mormon musical.
Good things yes, but also a lot of bad things. It seems to be this kind of thing that either you love, either you hate but there is no in between.
The production of the Book of Mormon came to Manchester in June 2019. That’s when I got to see it. That said, it’s now permanently on in London West End and will be in Liverpool and Edinburgh in 2020.
What is the Book of Mormon musical?
The book of Mormon is a story from the creator of South Park. This should give you a bit of a hint on what to expect.
It’s the story of how the Mormons came to life and more importantly the book on which the concept is based on.
It’s quite an interesting thing to watch from a cultural point of view. We all know who the Mormons are. But generally we only know about what we see in documentaries showing Mormon families in Utah, USA. Most people (and I was the first guilty of it) have no idea where it comes from, who invented it and how it took that much momentum. In that regard the musical is very good to put everything back into context. Through the story, it also gives historical facts about the Book of Mormon.
What’s the storyline?
The main characters are missionary Mormons sent abroad on a mission to convert new people. By abroad, I mean a very specific place: Uganda in Africa! The Book of Mormons is a very interesting mix as it involves and combines elements that generally don’t go together. They mention religion, racism, swearing, sex, homosexuality, violence, love and many more!
All of these are very touchy subjects and the script involves a lot of swearing and parody. You will need to be able to take everything with a pinch and salt and have a specific sense of humour to fully appreciate the play. Anything else could result in you hating the performance and finding it awfully insulting.
So, let’s stop with the cliffhangers here and let’s give some opinions! I absolutely loved the Book of Mormon. It is one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen, if not the best. Everything about it is just exceptionally good! The actors are brilliant, the singing is perfect, the dancing is incredible, the story is both culturally interesting and absolutely hilarious! It’s just the perfect combination of everything we want a play to be!
What did I think of the stage and set up in the Book of Mormon?
The stage was particularly beautiful and well articulated. There are different contexts including the school, airport, house and african village. Each scene goes from one set up to another in a very quick and efficient way. Also it is important to note that the set itself is absolutely beautiful and made of high quality materials. It really throws us into the story.
What did I think of the storyline?
The storyline is absolutely amazing for several reasons. Firstly because it’s based on a true story but more importantly because it takes a direction that is both funny and beautiful. The story is actually extremely serious and involves some topics that are extremely controversial but yet they do it in a hilarious way.
What did I think of the dancing and singing?
I was rather impressed by the singing and the dancing. Firstly it was absolutely perfect. No off key, no dance move wrong. It was perfectly synch which makes it an incredibly pretty piece of music and dance to watch.
Also the lyrics fitted so well into the tone of the story. Funny while still using very serious words. The choreography was very much like this too. Everything has been perfectly built to make something very serious while being funny and using a lot of swear words.
You can tell the amount of work that has been put into it. Everything was thought through in detail and executed to perfection.
What did I think of the costumes?
I was particularly astonished by the clothing. Not really because it was particularly sophisticated but because it was extremely slick and diverse. The african costumes were a mix of traditional and daily outfit.The Mormons had a very neat tuxedo with black tie. Everything was always perfect. Very pretty to look at!
Where can you see the Book of Mormon in the UK?
Where can I book tickets for the Book of Mormon?
You can buy tickets on the ATG website. Tickets start at £13 plus booking fees.
If you have an ATG member card, you won’t pay the booking fees.
Final thoughts about the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon is one of the best musicals I got to see (alongside Mathilda, Wicked and Back to the Future). It’s absolutely hilarious. I had such a good time and can not recommend it enough.
That said, it’s a very particular humour and I don’t think everybody would enjoy it. Loads of jokes are based on sex or god.
Personally, I don’t take these things to heart that much in the way that I see it as a joke. You’ve got to step back a little and take it as it is. I think that we can talk about every topic. I don’t believe in anything being taboo as long as it’s spoken up in the right way. Theatre and art have always been a way of expressing feelings and opinions. I think it’s good that a production democratise subjects that are very often not mentioned in our society.
Book of Mormon is not racist or homophobic. It uses jokes to highlight how much racism and homophobia are ridiculous and should not be part of our society.
It’s so much more than a musical, for the one that wants to listen.
That said, if you don’t like hearing people swear and making nasty remarks, you will not enjoy it at all!
Book of Mormon is a hit or miss. Just think about the things you like. Do you think that swear and sex jokes can be funny? Then you should go. Do you think that nobody should ever joke about god? Then maybe it’s not for you.