In this comedic tale of the gospel (of Latter-Day Saints) nothing is sacred, and nothing is shied away from. Parker, Stone, and Lopez tackle everything from oppressed homosexuality to female genital mutilation, and they don’t just cruise by with sun umbrellas on a double-decker bus, they get behind the sticks of a backhoe loader and pull the heart of the issues right into our laps.
Religion, homosexuality, female genital mutilation, and rape can be tricky subjects to address on the best of days. Even when you find a sympathetic ear things can go awry, be misunderstood, or not fully comprehended. And so often these discussions are skirted, diminished, or avoided entirely, and subsequently dropped from consciousness.
How the writers tackle the subjects they have chosen is both clever and effective, and it’s all in the timing. Like diving off the rocks into an icy Lynn Valley pool, they delve in deep then get out quick. We aren’t given an opportunity to shrug off, turn away, or change the subject. We are reminded of something intense that is then chased with a strong measure of humour, and then we are asked to think. The result is that for whatever the launch point, a discussion is had. And isn’t that the point.
Directors Casey Nicholaw’s and Trey Parkers’s pacing of the show gives us just enough time to breath between acts with hilarious, complimentary choreography (Casey Nicholaw, JR Bruno) perfectly executed by the stellar cast. Ryan Bondy (Elder Price), Cody Jamison Strand (Elder Cunningham), Candace Quarrels (Nabulungi), and Daxton Bloomquist (Elder McKinley) in particular deliver the subtleties of their performances with a clear understanding and connection to their respective characters essential to drawing in and holding the viewer.
The songs are riotous and raw. Parker, Lopez, and Stone take full credit for the jaw-dropping lyrics and music. Again, in and out. By the time you realize what’s going on it’s too late, you’ve been captured by the melody and movement, their residue spinning the thought wheels, and then bam it’s on to something new.
There is so much more to this show than can be sufficiently expressed in a short review. The story is rich, the songs are brilliant, and the execution is fantastic. There is plenty of room to laugh and even a little room to cry. If you are lucky enough to see this show come with an open mind. It is unique, raw, and rich and sure to please. Think about it.
For tickets and show times click HERE.