Now I hadn’t heard of The Book of Mormon until earlier this month. Now I can’t shut up about it. Someone bought me a ticket against my will as they assumed I’d like it. As a rule I’m not a fan of musicals – sure I enjoyed We Will Rock You and Hairspray is a guilty pleasure of mine but no, not a fan… So it was with my hands bound I was dragged to the Prince of Wales Theatre on Coventry Street to watch the show. The name doesn’t do it any favours – it just sounds dull. Dull, dull, double dull. Yes, it may have won 9 Tony awards, I don’t care. Yes, it’s written by the creators of South Park, great, I don’t care. I was wrong. It was hilarious, indecent, and at times slightly offensive. If you are easily offended you may want to settle for Dreamboats and Petticoats or The Mousetrap which may be more up your alley.
Religion and Musicals – No Thank You!
The Book of Mormon is a show that heavily criticises organised religion and the idea of musicals themselves. It is a hilarious self-reflexive, postmodern masterpiece of a musical. As you can tell, I loved it. Two Mormon missionaries travel to the war-torn African nation of Uganda to preach the holy scripture, however, the locals are rather resistant to the new ideas. The musical features original music, unlike the ‘jukebox musicals’ of We Will Rock You, Mama Mia, and the short-lived Viva Forever that write a musical based on the songs of well known bands and artists.
It’s Not All Bad for Religion
The musical isn’t an aggressive tirade on religion, so don’t feel you won’t enjoy it. The show does lampoon organised religion, however it is never unduly rude or aggressively offensive. It is funny, engaging, and witty. The musical stands above its peers due to this witty intelligence. Musicals aren’t known for this intelligence and are usually a bunch of simpletons breaking into song for no purpose: I’m going to the pub right noooow / Don’t say a word or we’ll have a roooow! This is why they aren’t my particular cup of tea. The Book of Mormon has enough to keep the literary theatre goer happy, as well as the diehard musical fan.
A night in the West End is expensive, you know this, I know this, the bars know this, the restaurants know this. We also know you’re going to pay. Put money aside and don’t worry about it. It may be expensive, the meal, the drinks, the travel, the show itself etc. but try to enjoy yourself. You can try and get a deal online, a lot of the theatres work in conjunction with restaurants so that you can buy one big ticket that lets you into the show and includes a nice meal at a nearby restaurant. However you are limited by the choice on offer, as you will usually have to settle for a set-menu. Now a-days it’s quite easy to find deals on musical prices online so look around for The Book of Mormon tickets and see if you can get a great deal.
Go and enjoy yourself. Don’t be like me, spending the first few hours of the evening miserable until I actually got into the theatre. Have an open mind and you will have a great time. It is one of the best nights I’ve had crammed into those ridiculously small theatre seats.