Tickets for The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre, which opened in London in March 2013, are still one of the hardest tickets to find. Keep looking, tickets are well worth hunting down.
This show is a roller coaster: it begins with a slow pull up the first climb with anticipation bubbling inside. The audacity of the content of this show is well known and everyone in that audience is at least vaguely aware of what lies over the crest- mayhem. Some might say even anarchy.
If art is a reflection of life then this piece of art shows what most people rarely contemplate, either due to ignorance or disinclination to acknowledge the unpleasant. The language is breathtaking, shocking as it is intended to be, carrying the audience into unmarked territory. Yet the writing of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, the co-creators of the lauded series South Park, and Robert Lopez, the composer of Avenue Q, is so clever that all that is great about musical theatre is here safely couriering the audience to a satisfying and uplifting conclusion. Stay with this show and be entertained and enlightened in equal parts.
The design elements of The Book of Mormon have won many awards and are all that one can wish for in a big West End musical. The sets and costumes, whilst not as beautiful to look at as some, support the play well as did the lighting. The sound design was good and well executed.
Apart from the stirling writing though the stars of the show are definitely in the performances. Nic Rouleau as the golden child of the class, Elder Price, gives a spellbinding performance and his rendition of the now classic I Believeis a musical triumph.
His character is more than ably supported by Brian Sears as his sidekick Elder Cunningham who leads the audience to adore him throughout. Sears works every ounce of nuance from the seemingly simple and humble, bumbling Cunningham. He sets up the element of farce from the moment he confides to his buddy Elder Pride that he often stretches the truth. In this he is not lying. He bends the truth so brilliantly that great things occur.
This is most definitely a big West End show and it has a big cast, every one of whom gives a fully committed and finely crafted performance. The standouts are Alexia Khardime as the Ugandan girl Nabalungi. The duet with Elder Price, Baptize Me, is pure joy to see and hear. Stephen Ashfield is magnificent as Elder McInley. He embraces the essence of his repressed sexuality and the audience respond with affection.
The ensemble works beautifully with individuals moulding together to form a glorious whole and the ensemble singing in all scenes is stunning. It’s a rich and full sound of voices blending in perfect harmony.
There are many people who may not see this wonderful show fearing that they will be offended by its content. That’s slightly reminiscent of feelings surrounding La Cage Aux Folles when it opened in 1983. Theatre is meant to broaden our horizons to promote growth. The Book of Mormon is another ground breaking show that casts some light on topics that are often taboo. It deserves to be seen at least once. This was my second time.