All that really needs to be said in advance is that the book/story, the songs, and the music were written by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the creators of the animated television series South Park, and Lopez wrote the songs for Frozen and has also worked on South Park. Enough said.
Like South Park, the dialogue and the songs of The Book of Mormon take no prisoners. Parker, Lopez, and Stone weave a thought-provoking thread of startling contemporary truths (with an array of verbal ‘Kenny’ bomb moments that will curl your hair) through a hilarious fable of naïveté, denial, awakening, and enlightenment. The brilliance is in the timing of the delivery of the material. Just as your mouth is ajar in guffaw, you are pinged in the incisor with a perception pellet.
The Book of Mormon is the story of a young Mormon man who has earned the status of ‘Elder’ and is sent out on his inaugural mission to convert the heathens and save their souls. It is a tale of expectations and suppositions, expeditions and supposititiousness, expedients and suppositories. Pack a toothbrush.
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker’s brilliantly staged choreography and blocking are characters unto themselves, drawing some of the biggest laughs of the show. That said, the show does not come together as beautifully as it does without the infallible Billy Harrigan Tighe (Elder Price), A. J. Holmes (Elder Cunningham), Brian Beach (Elder McKinley), and Alexandra Ncube (Nabulungi).
Tighe and Holmes are reminiscent of a young, dynamic Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, playing off each other with a respect and timing that comes naturally to a rare few. Beach juggles an over-the-top role without going over the edge, giving just the right amount of play that, on opening night, elicited a jocular, unison “oh, my god” from the two men in the next row. Ncube charmed us with her stage presence but it was the powerful control of her voice that verily captured our hearts.
The show is well cast and well executed, and with a standing ovation that began the second the lights began to dim, and lasted long after the curtain came down, it was most definitely well received.
The Book of Mormon runs at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from April 7 – 12, 2015. For tickets and show times click HERE.