I was still singing my way out of the theatre after the Book of Mormon when a leaflet was thrust into my hand. I look down and see ‘The Book of Mormon’ but not like the outrageous mockery I had just spent my evening enjoying. That’s right, the real life mormon’s were outside the Hippodrome distributing leaflets. Nice touch.
Be warned. This production is not for the faint hearted, with plenty of swearing and sex jokes galore. Everyone gets insulted and ridiculed, but what else is to be expected from a musical by the creators of South Park.
It must be rather daunting opening a show like this in a new location for the first time, not knowing how the audience would react to casual racism and jokes about raping babies. This is Book of Mormon’s first UK tour after being massively successful in the West End since 2013 and on Broadway since 2011.
The production follows the journey of two very different Elders as they attempt to fulfill their destiny on their mission in Uganda. Preppy and perfect Elder Price is brilliantly played by Robert Colvin, who shone in numbers such as ‘You and Me (but mostly me)’ and ‘I Believe’. He is accompanied by fellow dorky Elder Cunningham, played by Conner Peirson who I simply can’t see being beaten with his perfect comedic timing and side-splitting delivery of lines. His physical comedy and dancing is also second to none and from the opening number has the audience roaring. Peirson’s duet with love interest Nabulungi, played by Nicole-Lily Baisden, was a favourite moment of mine and I have no idea how either of them kept a straight face!
Peirson and Colvin bounce off each other, resembling squabbling siblings, as they find their way in their new African home. A special mention must go to the ensemble of African-based Elders and in particular Will Hawksworth who led the group in both dialogue and dance well.
I don’t know what I expected from the music but I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The opening number ‘Hello!’ is hilarious and sets the tone for the evening. The numbers in this show are shockingly good, and totally unexpected and bizarre. From switching off your feelings “like a light switch” to experiencing Hell alongside Hitler and Starbucks, the range of songs keeps the pace steady, whilst humour balances the normally slightly slower moments.
Because of The Book of Mormon’s crude humour, it is not avoided by those who wouldn’t touch a musical with a barge pole. It exposes a classic musical format to new people shows them that they aren’t all the same. So if this show is getting more people to the theatre and seeing musicals that wouldn’t normally, then I’m all for it!
Tickets are still available so GO GO GO! Plus the Hippodrome is running a £15 ticket lottery every day so head down to the box office at 5pm to be in with the chance of seeing a quality show for rock bottom prices.