The Book of Mormon

Critics' choice
1/8
© Johan Persson
2/8
© Johan Persson

Alexia Khadime and Brian Sears

3/8
© Johan Persson

Nic Rouleau and Chris Jarman

4/8
© Johan Persson

Billy Sears, Nic Rouleau and Lucy St Louis

5/8
© Johan Persson
6/8
© Johan Persson
7/8
© Johan Persson
8/8
© Johan Persson
Prince of Wales Theatre, Leicester Square Until Saturday July 25 2015
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The 'South Park' creators' musical doesn't quite live up to the epic hype, but is still the funniest show in town.

Nic Rouleau and Brian Sears are the current Elders Price and Cunningham

Brace yourself for a shock: ‘South Park’ creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Broadway-munching musical is not particularly shocking. Sure, there are ‘fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and gags about baby rape – but beneath it all, this is a big-hearted affair that pays note-perfect homage to the spirit of Broadway’s golden age as much as the sounds.

The strapping young Latter Day Saints missionaries in ‘The Book of Mormon’ are as cartoonish as any ‘South Park’ character, with the endearing alpha-male woodenness of the ‘Team America’ puppets. In other words, they are loveable, well-intentioned idiots, traversing the globe like groups of pious meerkats, convinced they can convert the heathen through sheer politeness. And if they have doubts, then as Stephen Ashfield’s scene-stealingly repressed Elder McKinley declares in glorious faux-Gershwin number ‘Turn it Off’, ‘Don’t feel those feelings – hold them in instead!’

His advice is ignored by the show’s heroes, narcissistic, highly strung Elder Price (Gavin Creel) and dumpy, lying Elder Cunningham (Jared Gertner). The pair are sent to Uganda in an effort to convert a village to Mormonism, a religion that essentially tells the penniless villagers how great distant America is. The locals are not keen: Price cracks and unwisely clashes with a crazed local warlord; Cunningham makes up his own version of Mormonism which involves fucking frogs to cure oneself of Aids.

‘The Book of Mormon’ is, above all, very funny, breathing three-dimensional, all-singing, all-dancing life into the absurdities of literal Mormon dogma without ever being mean. It’s the mildest thing Parker and Stone have done, atheist in outlook but conciliatory towards anyone whose beliefs make them happy. If they and co-creator Robert ‘Avenue Q’ Lopez are angry about anything, it’s ‘The Lion King’: ‘Mormon’ neatly sidesteps accusations of racism by making its Uganda a scathing and explicit parody of that musical blockbuster’s misty-eyed romanticism.

From Casey Nicholaw’s kitsch choreography to the sheer detail of a book that hops with elan from Biblical Egypt to eighteenth-century America to a sort of vaginal version of hell, this is a tremendous show, as accomplished as it is funny. It also has as hard-working, well-drilled and odd-looking an ensemble as you’ll see on the West End.

And yet, after the biblical deluge of hype, for me ‘Mormon’ is only the best West End musical since the stronger ‘Matilda’. It offers a series of great-to-sublime songs and set pieces, but for all the laughs, as a whole it lacks the satiric purpose and angry animating spark of its creators’ other work.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are not West End messiahs. But they are very naughty boys, and it’s hard not to love their smash musical. 

Venue name: Prince of Wales Theatre
Contact:
Address: Coventry St

W1D 6AS
Transport: Tube: Leicester Sq
Event phone: 0844 544 3830

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:66
  • 4 star:14
  • 3 star:6
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|90
2 people listening
Hammertime
2 of 2 found helpful

It says something about their reputations going before them, but I was actually expecting this to be more extreme. It's hardly take-your-gran material though and still incredibly unique on the west end stage. 


I would have liked to have seen more from the supporting Mormons too, they were brilliant, so I was disappointed they were under-used. 


But as an intelligent spectacle on a grand scale, it's a pretty magnificent beast.

Natasha Bibi
2 of 2 found helpful

Ah Book of Mormon...It took me such a long time to see you, and my expectations were so high. And yep, they were pretty much met! The first act is, as is often the way, the most hilarious and engaging. I laughed so hard at at least two of the songs. Though I must admit, there were often moments when I genuinely cringed, and thought maybe they were going a little too far. Certain topics (if you see it, you'll know what I mean) that are in bad taste, rather than being ironically funny. My aunt and uncle asked me if they should see it, and I said no: The type of humour is really only suitable for those with dark sides! But if you enjoy that kind of humour, definitely see it - it can be very, very funny.

Leanne A

I bought these tickets for my girlfriend back in December, so this has been a long wait. Friends had been to see it in the interim and I have never heard a bad word about the show. Could. Not. Wait.

I've also never seen queues out of the door for a show either!

When the day finally came, we were both really looking forward to being able to join in with the 'I've seen the Book of Mormon' crowd. Trying not to have our expectations too high either, as the last show we went to see was sh!t.

We were not let down! I rarely laugh out loud at things and this made me guffaw a few times. I love a good guffaw.

I particularly enjoyed the performances by Stephen Ashfield and Brian Sears. It's refreshing to see a cast performing a show that isn't super serious and you can tell they were enjoying themselves. The songs are catchy. We've been listening to 'Baptize Me' this morning and it's still stuck in my head.

Honestly, I was expecting a few more 'I cant believe they just said that' moments, but the smile didn't come off my face for a second during the whole show.

If you haven't seen this yet, you are MISSING OUT!

Alex R

As people before have written: definitely such a big build up prior to seeing this show and a big price. 

Ive seen plenty of musicals and this was definitely as enjoyable as the rest - lots of laughter and great singing. The songs are definitely a bit less memorable and its missing that little bit of heart that comes with most of the West End, but it makes up for it by covering some important topics with great wit, gusto from the cast and some very memorable lines! I think the African cast far outshone the American mormons!

Christopher M

By far the funniest show I have ever seen. Worth every penny. I guarantee you that you'll love it, laugh constantly and leave on a high. Creators are pure genius.

Natasha P

A top-notch cast, especially charismatic, Olivier award-winning lead Gavin Creel, and comic sidekick Jared Gertner, keep the energy high throughout a show that's frequently so funny you'll have trouble breathing. Good luck getting the camp songs out of your head afterwards – a couple are permanent ear worms. Sublimely ridiculous.

Graham M

Saw it for the 2nd time. Loved it just as much. Great music great lyrics and just really funny

Joanna H

A fantastic show that delights and shocks at the same time. So funny and so well put together. I've never seen an audience so wild with enthusiasm!

Ralph W

I loved every minute of it.  It might not appeal to the MASSES, who of course think they are owed, for the ticket price, and yes the other MORMONS had their say too, does supporting cast mean anything?

A definite must see for Non PC people Hasa Diga Eebowai ring any bells?

Connie

If you're sensible you better not see this play, but if you like raw humor, this is for you. For me it was laugh after laugh. The script is witty, the song are engaging, the actors are incredible! Is all that you can expect from the West End, and then some.

Charly L
Staff Writer

Hilarious! Funniest show I've ever seen - lived up to all expectations.  Packed full of laugh out loud moments, the friend I saw the show with has been back twice since already.  

The humour is cringey and sex-based, so don't take your parents, unless you have a very open relationship with them! 

Claire S

Loved it! Had heard friends and colleagues raving about it, so had to give it a go and we were not disappointed! The songs are hilarious and lewd, but no catchy enough to get stuck in your head (luckily), and the scenery and acting were just perfect. Would recommend to anyone!

David H

So much fun! I took a date and fortunately she loved it! I've still got half the songs stuck in my head, I have to be careful not singing them in the office! Definitely got near the knuckle a few times but I was never offended.

Karen M

I went with no preconceptions. So was extremely pleased to find i was laughing from the 'get go' & realised I was watching with a permanent smile on my face.

It was very funny. Yes i was annoyed about the swearing when i realised thats what they were saying. i think a different word could have been used.

But over all it was brilliant, & i'll never be able to see the Mormon Boys at my door again, the same way.

Thank you for a brilliant evening.

Tricia L

I have waited over 12 months to see this show and was promised the best two hours of my life. I was not disappointed. Having experienced Mormon-ism first hand while working in Salt Lake City, I loved every minute of this entertaining and surprisingly accurate history lesson. I would see it again!!!

Ev W

clever, funny,  near the mark brillance

The audiance resounded this

Natalie B

Outrageosly funny and Gobsmackingly Entertaining.  I would recommend it to anyone who isn't easily offended!

Deborah B

Really enjoyed this, very funny, excellent cast.  And you could understand everything they said, unlike some shows we've seen recently.  Just don't take your grandmother!

Jennifer F

I have already seen Book of Mormon twice and have not ruled out a third. It is hilarious and the music is so catchy you will be singing slightly inappropriate songs for days.

Aisling S

I was expecting it to be funny, if a little odd (consider the vague description), but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so funny! I spent most of it laughing, sniggering, giggling and out right guffawing; so much so that I actually missed some of the song lyrics (remedied by buying the soundtrack!) 

I wouldn't recommend it for children, or the more uptight PC sort, but anyone who knows how to have a laugh should definitely try and get a ticket (you'll have to remortgage your home to afford it, but it'll be totally worth it)!

Without giving too much away: 10/10, black humour, laugh out loud spectacle that I would recommend! Keep an eye on Time Out London and Theatre People for new dates and cheap on the spot tickets :)

Jiwen Z

Most hilarious musical I've ever seen. No wonder why the tickets are always so popular. Definitely recommend to all.

Peter Cumming

I've been wanting to see this for sometime so was over the moon when I saw the great offer form Time Out, the show didn't disappoint. Side splitting controversies from the word go. Note of warning this is not one for the easily offended. (Or blindingly religious!).

Intelligent, controversial comedy genius.

Haas diga eebowai!

Phi M

Guys you can take an uber taxi to this for free if you are a first time user, with the promotion code "uberisthefuture". Praise be to God!

Robert W

This is the funniest show I have ever seen in the theatre and I've seen hundreds over the years. It is such a pity they could never expose other religions in the same way as they would both have to go into hiding. But that's religion for you. Not to be missed if you enjoy laughing and are not a stick in the mud or obviously a Mormon. 

SpobyEzria

I am Mormon myself and every time I think about this it just makes me sick. It feels like a slap in the face, but it isn't even realistic at all. It creates misconceptions that really hurt.

Ciaran Sanders

Original, fun, clever, and an utterly hilarious spectacle. The singing and dancing was so impressive. The whole thing was amazing! The best 2 and a half hours I have spent in London!

Henriette

This is not something you want to miss out on! The whole theatre was laughing from beginning to end. You will most likely find yourself singing 'Hello' all the way home.

C. Richmond

When things come highly recommended by masses from all directions, it can be a let down. I am really happy to say that this show that lived up to the raves. I was prepared for mass crudeness, there is some, but not to the extent I expected. It is a feel good show, with uplifting music, real belly laughs, giggles but also some seriousness. Was in the dress circle quite high up and could still see well, great theatre, art deco style, feels like an ocean liner of c1920s . I am not that hot on musicals but would see this again. Go with an open mind and prepare to be seriously entertained and amused!

Vicky Ball

Laugh a minute, from the moment we took our seats we were in stitches. But be warned this is not for the easily offended! Our seats were high but it didn't detract from the performance. Very efficient service from Time Out, tickets arrived promptly. I'd highly recommend this for a fun night out.

Elisabeth Elphick

This show will have you gasping in shock and crying with laughter all in the same minute. The acting was brilliant as was the singing and the storyline. You will need to go in there prepared to be slightly shocked otherwise you'll be finding yourself maybe offended by some of the story but as long as you are aware of this you should enjoy it immensely. The whole show is brilliant,there wasn't one part that I would say wasn't amazing. All in all a great night and a great show. Definitely recommend and I'm sure we will be back to see it again.

S Mahar

Hilarious from start to finish! Great fun and a wonderful night out. You'll find yourself humming the songs all the way home.

Audrey Lee

I am seventy six and half crippled with arthritis but I was determined to blast a way from Sussex to see this play because I did not believe anyone could make a musical out of a religion. Well, they did and they did it by throwing all fear and squeamishness to the winds - an iconoclastic scalpel was used to cut down beliefs everyone knew to be not just stupid but plain wrong - superstitious ways of curing aids, female genital mutilation and perverted teaching about God . I loved it. It was, above all else, honest - even more so than funny (I wish I could read all the words). That's leaving out the incredible energy and talent of the dancing and singing! What superb theatre!

Charlotte

A delight from beginning to end, the Book of Mormon was utterly hilarious, cleverly crafted and impeccably performed. Witty, filthy, irreverent, but never careless or crass, although I'm not sure my Catholic mother would approve of the "F*%! You God" number. My fiance and I left the theatre humming the tunes and woke up this morning with them still ringing in our ears. A must see.

Jessica

One of the best musicals I've ever seen. Biting satire, but not for the faint hearted! We laughed through every minute of the performance. The production was slick, music was excellent (we were humming all the way home), and well worth the ticket price.

Jim

A very enjoyable romp, with irreverent humour, good music and several messages there which can leave you thinking. Some of the subject matter can make you cringe, and one wonders if it was necessary, but then don't take your maiden aunt. Can't wait for the sequel - the Book of Arnold.

Elizabeth Moore

Probably one of the best musicals I've seen in the West End! How they manage to smile like that from start to finish is beyond me! Quality cast, laugh a minute [good sense of humour required!] ...I'd see it again in a heartbeat!

Ursula

Good perfomances, lots of energy, but really did not live up to expecations. Was expecting it to be much funnier and a lot sharper, sort of a bit obvious. A fun musical but nothing special.

Kim Mann

This show has you laughing, singing along, and all round enjoyment for 2 and a half hours non-stop. A cross between high school musical and curb your enthusiasm!

Paul

Brilliant! It's more Team America than South Park. It's camp, hugely engaging and hilarious. We had the understudy for the main part and he was perfect. Can't imagine the lead being better. Fantastic voices, endearing characters and plenty of laughs.

Tom

Disappointing. It was a good show and there were definitely some funny moments but I was expecting a lot more after all of the hype. Granted it's in a different medium but an average episode of South Park is far funnier

Ed

Fun, well-choreographed, with some great gags. Somehow though I was expecting more - there needed to be more bite.

Kerry Youlden

The Book of Mormon was one of the most hilarious shows I have seen for such a long time! Pushing the comedy boundaries, but in a camp and incredibly endearing way that makes you feel unsure whether you should be laughing or sympathising with the characters. Wonderfully outstanding performances from all cast members; which you do not often see. Appealing to people of all ages and walks of life ... but prepare to be shocked! (In a good way!) Fantastic theatrical experience that I have now told EVERYONE about! I'd go again in an instant!

Gillian

Fabulous show! Saw it for the second time, and it continued to delight and amuse. I came out and my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing so much.

Katy McCann

Great show, not for the faint hearted or easily offended! I laughed the entire way through as did the entire audience, a definite must see.

Paul

It might be worth skipping a meal or two if that's what it takes to buy one of these Mormon tickets: they're not cheap, but they are worth every penny. A show that will have you grinning from ear to ear and singing along to the chirpy melodies (before you realise just WHAT the lyrics area - not to be repeated on the tube afterwards), whilst looking around for permission to laugh. Don't worry, everyone else will be bouncing on their seats, unable to keep in the giggles because of the outrageous, satirical comedy. A must-see.

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