Touring – reviewed at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Guest reviewer: Mia Bowen
There is nothing that will prepare you for The Book Of Mormon, famously created (book, music and lyrics) by the minds behind South Park. Without knowledge of the plot, there is an expectation that Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone will test limits, challenge establish thoughts and push the boundaries. The atmosphere at the Empire Theatre was spellbinding and the weight of expectations huge – and this production did not disappoint.
From the very first musical number ‘Hello’, which introduces us to the Mormons, popping up on stage and ringing doorbells, we are amazed at the pure talent of the cast members who maintain their astonishing energy and commitment to their roles throughout.
The multi-award-winning musical follows a pair of ill-matched Latter-day Saints missionaries, Elders Price and Cunningham, as they attempt to preach the faith of the Church to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. The earnest young men are challenged by the lack of interest from the locals, who are distracted by more pressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, famine, female genital mutilation and oppression by the local Warlord.
This musical is everything you would expect from a top West End show. Scott Pask’s set design is inventive, immersive and impressive, especially the Ugandan slums. Along with Ann Roth’s stunning costume design, this production adds to the script and music to give the audience a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
The songs are superb, with each one adding to the overall narrative. For me every song is a winner but my favourites include ‘Two By Two’, ‘Turn It Off’ and the fantastic catchy but wrong on so many levels ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ which I am still humming.
The cast is equally excellent, particularly Elder Cunningham played by Jacob Yarlett, the adorable, jubilant and energetic Mormon with an overactive imagination and Elder Price played by Robert Colvin, the charming, pomp, straight character that will do what it takes to get what he wants. Stealing the show is Jordan Lee Davies who plays the suppressed and sexually frustrated gay Elder McKinley. He is an absolute joy to watch, especially in the musical number ‘Turn It Off’.
Although not for the easily offended, The Book Of Mormon is wickedly funny, risqué and inappropriate in almost every way. This is a vibrant and joyous musical with fantastic songs, energetic dancing and pitch perfect performances from a talented ensemble cast.
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