Review Scene: The Book of Mormon – Princess Theatre, Melbourne. 4th Feb 2017

How do you make religion, AIDS, hunger, poverty, female circumcision and oppression hilariously funny? Well you take seven years and three blokes called Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez (a.k.a. the writers and composer/lyricist of South Park), and you get them to write a musical theatre piece about those most unfunny of situations. Parker, Stone and Lopez see the amusing side of just about anything, which perhaps is seen by some as inappropriate and distasteful, but by others as clever and bloody entertaining.

If you’re the type that would call your local talk back radio show about the disrespect shown by people today, then you would be wasting money on a ticket…satire definitely isn’t for you. For anyone else, you should get a ticket now if you haven’t already. There’s something in this production for almost everyone who shuns political correctness.

If you appreciate that Mormons with their door-to-door approach to religion are mightily, annoyingly annoying and more clean-cut than any sane person should be, you will love Elders Price and Cunningham. If you love beautiful voices singing irreverent songs, you will swoon over Nabulungi’s (Zahra Newman’s) vocal range and emotive renditions. If you admire the lithe flexibility of professional dancers, there’s definitely something for you too.

There isn’t really a moral to this story except perhaps that the message is much more important than the means by which it is told. It could well be a dirge given the subjects covered, but things do end up bright for all except for the narrow-minded Mormon mission president (Andrew Broadbent), whose character is as po-faced as they come. No more will be said about the plot. You need to see this for yourself.

Some of the songs are too over the top, but then they are supposed to be. The writers don’t do anything by half. ‘Hasa Diga Eebowai’ translates as ‘Fuck You God’ and “Power Up” refers to the General’s paranoia about clitorises and how they may just become self-animated and destroy him…so he has to destroy them first. I think you get the picture. If you want to go and see The Book of Mormon because you believe it would be good, be totally assured that it is better than you could ever imagine but don’t see it if you want an authentic Mormon experience. Try The Church of the Latter Day Saints on a Saturday instead.

 

About Sharon Brookes 71 Articles
Sharon is a freelance music journalist with 20 years experience writing for street press, web publications and blogs. She specialises in reviewing gigs, books, CD’s, and theatre productions.

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