The Book of Mormon review
Time Out says
Trey Parker and Matt Stone's naughty but extremely lovable comedy
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 most of it is deployed ironically; beneath it all, this is a big-hearted affair that pays note-perfect homage to the sounds and spirit of Broadway’s golden age.
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 particulalry 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 andwell-drilled 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.
This review is from 2013. The cast now includes: Dom Simpson (Elder Price), J Michael Finley (Elder Cunningham), Leanne Robinson (Nabulungi), Steven Webb (Moroni/Elder McKinley), and Richard Lloyd-King (Mafala Hatimbi).
How to get cheap tickets: 'The Book of Mormon' runs a 'lucky draw lottery' for £20 tickets to each performance. Turn up at the box office at 5pm before the evening's show (noon for matinees) to register your name. Winners will be announced at 5.30pm (12.30pm for matinees), and must be present with a valid form of ID to purchase their tickets.
Users say (222)
Average User Rating
4.4 / 5
- 5 star:149
- 4 star:40
- 3 star:14
- 2 star:8
- 1 star:10
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.
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.
The performances were good.
The racism was not.
I get that this type of humour is meant to be offensive, but for it work there needs to be an understanding of what your making fun of. What I saw yesterday was a caricature of a caricature of what two American men think Africa is. I am from Kenya, and I did not feel offended, I felt small and alone.
How do you draw the line between racism and offensive humour and satire? I can't imagine anyone I know from a country in Sub Saharan Africa enjoying themselves. I think that's how you know. That feeling like you've swallowed a rock. That's how you know.
The worst part of the experience - I paid money to watch a mostly white audience laugh as the immoral, diseased, simple minded Africans were saved by the well meaning, morally superior, better educated, if clueless, clean, American boys. Over 40 years since the end of colonialism in Africa, and this is still acceptable, still worth rave reviews, still entertainment.
Book of Mormon is racist and highly offensive, and only funny if you like laughing at “stupid Africans” and baby rape “jokes“. So gross and dated. Yuk.
Over-hyped. Over-indulged. Overrated nonsense.
Features repetitive 'jokes' about racism, female mutilation and homophobia and of course (what I'm sure everybody loves the most) repeated jokes about raping babies. I'm in shock that this is allowed, if you were to say these things out loud in public .. would people laugh? I think not.
And I just adore all the cute reviews saying how nice it is for a play 'not to be too P.C' and 'if you are easily offended you should not watch it' - for the record I am not easily offended, so this show did great lengths to achieve it.
I left the show at the interval having never been so offended in my life, ashamed to be sat next to people who find this funny.
This is one of the funniest west end shows I've seen, but would not recommend it if you are easily offended! The whole production is very energetic and I guarantee its not one you will forget!
Awful. In a time when country leaders are calling African countries "shithole countries" and American think they should be the rulers of the world, it's a bit tone-deaf to have a play that stereotypes the ignorant immigrant and white savior so shallowly.
I understand this show supposedly is a criticism of the Mormon faith, but it is much more positive about the need for Mormanism than the intelligence of Africans. I'm sure this play was hilarious a couple years ago, but now it just seems dated.
The only redeeming part of this play was the great singing by the women in the show. But even that isn't enough to rescue the mediocre songs (I couldn't remember a single tune after leaving the theater)
Considering all the amazing plays on West End -- Chicago is crass without being so morally paper-thin, and even Killer Joe has more laughs than this farce of a play -- this is definitely not a must-see.
Hands down the funniest show on stage I have ever seen, I was launching at the opening scene and honestly didn't stop laughing until the end. Its daring subject matter makes light of an otherwise quite serious topic. Some shows I find tend to drag on my I found myself fully engrossed in this from start to finish. For those that take offence easily or having particularly religious morals then perhaps this isn't the show for you but I would encourage anyone to sit back and go with the all-singing, glowing god-like flow. Those creators of South Park know how to make you laugh!
Well... this show is most definitely not for the prude or faint hearted. It is outlandish, hilarious and very much enjoyable. if you are easily offended then do not go to this show... the jokes go way over the line to the point where the line becomes a distance dot on the horizon. The cast are spectacular with such as amazing choice of actors to play each role perfectly. I have been recommended to see this show by many of my friends and would most definitely say to others to go. I think it is definitely a particular taste so do read other reviews before booking tickets.
3 stars is a bit harsh for an enjoyable show, but I couldn't quite give it a 4. In the vain of Family Guy, the show is a joke. While not meant in the negative sense - its characters and narrative seemed thin and exist to carry on to the next punch line. This is the theatre realisation of a standup show, with an ensemble cast and budget. If that sounds ideal to you, then you'll be laughing all the way home.
The Book of Mormon is as hilarious, and controversial, as every review states! You will spend the entire play laughing (while internally doubting whether you 'should' be allowed to laugh). This is the perfect play to take somebody who 'doesn't enjoy the theatre' they will quickly be won over by the show. The Book of Mormon is a must see, you'll be singing the songs for days!
If you are not easily offended, then this musical is a fantastic laugh and great value for money.
We booked in advance through the Book of Mormon website, which meant if we needed to change the date we could do so for free up until 2 weeks before the performance. The songs are catchy and I found myself still singing them the next day which to me is always a sure fire sign of a great musical. It was a great laugh the whole way through, and I would highly recommend it!
Yes it's controversial but it's funny and packed with great songs and wonderful performances. The occasional joke went a bit too far for me so as other reviews have said, don't see this if you're easily offended by jokes about race and religion. If you're fans of the game Cards Against Humanity then this musical is perfect for you!
Be warned this is not a show for people easily offended, this is my favourite muscial for numerous reasons.
I have seen this show 4 times and each time a see new details and the jokes are still funny. It combines tradition musical songs and dance numbers mixed with Southpark comedy still.
The performers are incredible, excellent vocals and comedic timing leave the audience in stitches.
I waited for over a year to see it for the first time so worth booking in advance and don't forget about the weekly online lottery for £20 tickets.
This is simply the best show I have ever been too!!! It is hilarious and so so twisted, going to places that you would never even think of. If you only get to one show in London, or anywhere else it goes this is in my opinion the no 1 choice.
The sets are great, the actors are funny with great timing and the songs are HILARIOUS!!
You should be warned that if you are easily offended this is NOT the show for you - but if you have a sense of humor and are looking for a crazy, funny night out this is NOT TO BE MISSED!!
I didn't stop laughing throughout this show, it was really different to any I have ever seen. Yes it is dark and if you are easily offended, then don't go. If you do go, you need to be prepared to take it all in good spirit and not too seriously and if you are prepared to do that I can't imagine someone not finding this funny! I'm not particularly a fan of South Park so I wasn't sure if I would like it but I'm very glad that I went to see it!
I frankly don’t believe it I left it for that long, but I finally made my way to the theatre to see the show.Everyone said to me that is very out there, crude and far away from being P.C.
‘’I can handle that!’’ I replied to everyone.
It started off with easy, American humour and I was laughing out loud.
But it soon progressed to a bit darker, unappropriated humour, I started looking around me uncomfortably, thinking if other people find it too much as well.
Took me a while to relax again, and once I did, I manage to start enjoying the humour again, and taking the jokes as they are, not thinking about them too much or judging them how inappropriate they are.
If you watch the show thinking how did they manage to do this without getting sued…I think the answer is that they offended everyone… no one was left out!
This aside, dancing and singing was impeccable, every move done to perfection and provides the viewer few hours of pure entertainment.
Literally did not stop laughing from start to finish! My friend and I went to see a mid-week production of the show and had such a great night, we even bought the sound track! The storyline and plot, although not to everyone’s taste due to it’s dark and insensitive humour, was different to say the least. We learnt everything there is to know about Mormons and had such a laugh along the way! The cast were all amazing and sang perfectly! The stage production itself was extremely imaginative and made for an impressive back drop. We bought some last minute tickets for £27 and although we were on the very top tier, and the very back row, our seats were fine and we could see everything perfectly. If you are easily offended maybe avoid this one, otherwise definitely worth a trip!
I have never laughed so much at a musical in my life! Who-ever is having a bad day must go and see The Book of Mormon. This musical is the cure to misery, as it makes you laugh, puts you in a state of shock and reminds you that life is for living so just enjoy it and chill. The cast are amazing , such talented people with phenomenal voices.
The songs are way to catchy as I want to burst out in song at my office however the lyrics should not let the auditorium! It shocks me what South Park creators can get away with but the delivery is incredible. Although this is a comedic musical it does reflect on current events and important topics however turns our world upside down, helping us laugh at dreadful events and/or people.
I will be seeing this again before it leaves the stage as I loved every minute! Go see it straight away!!
I grew up in an obscure little town in Eastern Europe which no foreigner ever visited, so you can understand my strange fascination with the neat-looking boyishly handsome American guys with the crisp white shirts and the immaculate ties who roamed my hometown. A childhood friend of mine took off with one of them and we never heard from her again, but now I know where she is - in Salt Lake City!! :-D
The show is great, the performers are brilliant and the humour is... well, very American (read blunt and slightly predictable, but still good). Would definitely recommend it to my friends, especially to the South Park fans amongst them, you know why :-)
When you are feeling bad for feeling good...
This musical is truly like a special South Park episode. Reflects on serious, important, interesting topics and makes people think about them by getting their attention with great (and politically absolutely incorrect) humour, catchy songs and funny characters. Personally seeing the "south parkish" elements alive was a bit too much sometimes ...what is ok for the cartoon version for me was a different story as a live show.
The whole musical is great fun though. I'm still bursting out singing some songs when something not so good happens or before bed (you'll see why).
Oh yes, and Elder Cunningham is my spirit animal. <3
Not for the faint-hearted or easily offended, The Book of Mormon is a hilariously fun and witty show. Amazing talent and guaranteed to make you laugh until your face hurts, it's great for a night out to a show! Must-see! The hype is real. I can't believe it took me so long to see this show!
The book of Mormon is a great reminder that sometimes you need to take the complex, often depressing developments of today's world, as well as your daily troubles, with a pinch of salt and a good dose of humour. Sprinkled with a generous serving of political incorrectness and largely inappropriate jokes, this musical is bound to bring a smile to your face, one that will linger long after the performance is over. The catchy tunes make this a really fun evening, reminding us all of a line we’re bound to have seen on a poster, t-shirt or mug at one point or another: Don’t take life too seriously! Nobody gets out alive anyway.
whether you are fan of South Park or not, as long as you have an open sense of humour- you are gonna absolutely LOVE the Book of Mormon. Booked for me and my other half to watch and we were in tears from laughing throughout the show. It definitely exceeded my expectations and all the hype I heard about it. I would definitely watch it again.
If you've got a filthy sense of humor, a love of musicals and a free evening you HAVE to go and see the Book of Mormon.
Hilarious from start to finish (and not just "hilarious", but "carry tissues to wipe your smudged mascara from laughter caused tears" kind of hilarious) with brilliant songs to boot. It doesn't mater if you're a South Park fan or not - it is true Broadway genius in it's own right.
And, to make the evening truly perfect, it's being played in one of the most beautiful theatres in town. It's deco lobby and bar are worth a visit regardless of what's playing so make sure you get there early for a drink and a wander.
This lived up to the hype, as far as I am concerned. Entertaining, fast-paced and laugh-a -minute, this show had me hooked from the get go. As others have said, you might not want to watch it with your in-laws or your grandparents sat next to you, but it's generally gentle fun, rather than "WTF did he just say" (one or two exceptions).
The film is satirical brilliance throughout, and actually sheds light on Joseph Smith and his now infamous gold plates. Deserves all the accolades it gets, a wonderful, wonderful performance!
The best show in the West End by far. Laugh out loud funniness that leaves you wanting more. Listen carefully for the sounds of other big musicals which are littered throughout the score. wickedly naughty and likely to offend. Brilliant stuff
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!