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Book of Mormon Review

Written by Estelle Ross

May 31, 2023

The Book of Mormon musical in London is a total blast! Prepare for a wild and cheeky journey that puts a funny spin on the history and practises of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our mismatched missionary team, Elders Price and Cunningham, are dispatched to Uganda on a conversion assignment. Price exudes confidence and squeaky-clean perfection, but Cunningham is the perennial underdog. Their humorous misadventures in Uganda swiftly deviate from the intended course, landing them in a world far from the postcard-perfect paradise they imagined.

This comedy, created by the geniuses behind South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and Avenue Q (Bobby Lopez), is a fantastic blend of irreverence, crass humour, and explicitness. Prepare for some jaw-dropping events that will both annoy and entertain individuals of all stripes—especially those who make it their life's purpose to find something to scream about.

As our fearless missionaries immerse themselves in Ugandan society, they discover that it is nothing like the savannah-filled utopia described in The Lion King. No, their first meeting is with a woman dragging a dead donkey across the stage. Let's just say it's all downhill from there.

One of the show's highlights is a wonderful African piece in which the natives shrug off life's hardships in an un-Hakuna Matata-like manner. The lyrics address issues ranging from poverty and starvation to AIDS and female genital mutilation. Price and Cunningham initially join in on the catchy music until they realise it is blasphemy. After all, what ruins a good time more than offending the gods?

Cunningham, the persistent loser with a vivid imagination, decides to take matters into his own hands. He modifies the Book of Mormon story for the Ugandan context, infusing it with his lifelong fascination with Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek. The end result? A funny re-enactment of Joseph Smith's narrative, as narrated by Cunningham You will not be able to quit laughing!

While the musical makes fun of religious gullibility, it does not diminish the value of belief in and of itself. It cleverly reminds us that having something to believe in is preferable to having nothing to believe in. It also employs Ugandans to address western arrogance, racism, colonialism, and the iconic white saviour complex. It's a witty quip that keeps the audience guessing.

Aviva Tulley's bewitching Nabulungi becomes the lone villager willing to give the missionaries a chance. However, they can't seem to get her name right, resulting in a series of comical mispronunciations. Nonetheless, Nabulungi becomes a driving force in rallying her community. Surprisingly, the Mormon church escapes somewhat undamaged, as the missionaries' genuine intentions come through despite their lack of a deep understanding of Ugandan reality.

This vibrant and raucous musical is not for the faint of heart. It's jam-packed with wonderful tunes, dynamic dance, and standout performances by a very talented ensemble cast. While you may not discover the secrets of chastity underwear, you will realise that wearing ugly long johns may be the ideal repellant for possible love meetings.

Oh, and prepare to learn a lot more about scrotal maggots than you ever wanted to know. It's a strange topic that you won't quickly forget.

So grab your sense of humour and prepare for an evening of pure laughter with The Book of Mormon musical in London. It's a lively and entertaining presentation that will have you smiling, gasping, and possibly second-guessing your life choices.


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