A blog raveled in randomness
At the end of the show, the cast of “Book of Mormon” at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London received a grandiose standing ovation from the audience. The audience (including me) was clapping for the comedic talents every musical performer possessed and the amazing performances they brought on stage this afternoon. The music melody was generic in my opinion, but the lyrics were witty and hilarious that contained pop-culture messages. This is a musical that I would not have been comfortable with my parents. Unlike the last musical “Mamma Mia”, this musical does contain swear words and inappropriate actions that are not suitable for little children. (The ticket states “Parental Advisory”.) I was laughing all through the musical due to large amounts of satirical as well as dark humor thrown out to the audience from the stage. It was a clever musical with witty lyrics and dialogues and talented singers and energetic dancers bravely presenting a distorted storyline with a religious background.
My friends asked me if I was offended since I am not an atheist. Of course I wasn’t. This is a form of entertainment. No one should take it too seriously. God entering the stage wearing a white robe with dangling yellow lights (like a Christmas tree); the angel mockingly telling the American prophet not to publicly display the golden plates of God’s words even if people ask for proof; the Africans happily singing ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ (meaning f*** you, God) whenever they meet hardships; and one of the missionaries suppressing his true sexual orientation due to God’s teachings. If my parents were there, they might not have laughed as much as I did–mainly because they wouldn’t have understood the pop-culture references. I think what the musical production has created is hilarious! And I recommend it to everyone (whose appropriate of age) to go see this musical that is not attacking religion itself, but to show that some morals can be presented in various metaphors–which some are in printed books!
So the musical is about the missionaries that follow words in the Book of Mormon. After their trainings, the missionaries are paired up and sent to different parts of the world to spread the word of God. Elder Kevin Price (Gavin Creel) gets paired with Elder Arnold Cunningham who is not the most popular Mormon in the group. With high hopes that he will definitely change the world, Kevin leaves for Uganda. However everything falls apart as his fantasy of his first missionary work crumbles into disappointment. So he leaves in hopes that he could go to Orlando. While Kevin gets lost in his faith, Arnold Cunningham brings out his worst habit to the Uganda community: lies. Arnold lies and distorts the truth of Mormonism to grab attention of the Uganda people. It actually works, so he continues and baptizes the locals. However all lies have consequences, and Arnold meets his when the Mission President pays a visit to the missionary camp.
The performance started with musical number “Hello”, which I think was a remarkable way to start a show as an introduction. It had a similar feel of a narrator saying “once upon a time”, but in a more quirky and hilarious way with doorbells rhythmically playing with the voices of different Mormons. It was a simple stage with a painted background and a simple suit shone under a white light. But the content the dialogues held were enormous. The words flew quick. The actions contained subliminal messages. The facial expressions were very noticeable. And the short appearances of minor characters created a modern setting for the viewers. For example, the song “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” in Act II was hilarious with devil spawns wearing glittering top hats and holding a matching cane for their Broadway number. The devils were joined with the spirits of Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan, Jhonnie Cochran and Jeffrey Dahmer and they were together with Elder Price in his nightmare. It was bright red as if the stage was on fire, but the sparkling costumes of the devil and satirical appearances of the evil spirits created an odd hilarious, dark comedy for me. The ultimate dark comedy for me during the show was the musical number “Turn It Off” in which the missionaries share their tricks to forget about hurtful pasts with a smile. Listen to it. You’ll know what I mean.
My favorite character would have to be Elder Mckinley (Stephen Ashfield). He was the most hilarious character as a homosexual working in the missionary. The performer sang well and his small quick facial expressions always cracked me up. As you can see, this musical is not only offensive to Mormonism but also to African people who are actually suffering due to illnesses and wars, homosexuals who disapprove of Mckinley’s way of living due to religious reasons and Starbucks, which was burning in hell too. The production boldly covered snippets of communities to insult in a witty melody. I think viewers who saw this should not concentrate on the musical word for word because it is a comedy musical–it is not a statement of anti-religion, etc. Just enjoy it, and you will see what I saw: hilarity.
‘Book of Mormon’ musical UK website : http://bookofmormonlondon.com/tickets.php