Note: Cast has changed since this review If you follow proceedings in the entertainment arena, you may well know as much if not far more than I do about this much-anticipated show. 'The Book of Mormon' has already been in residence on Broadway for the past two years, where it has been a huge success, and advance publicity for the show means there can't be many people in the UK who do not know about it already. Read more
Written by the creators of the cult TV hit South Park, The Book of Mormon has been playing in the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre since 2013. It has fully established itself as one of London’s most popular musicals and one of the hottest tickets in town. Heralded "the best musical of the century" by the New York Times when it opened on Broadway in 2011, The Book of Mormon arrived in London to instant success, winning four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical.
Initially running at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York, The Book of Mormon musical broke box office records at the theatre and won 9 Tony Awards from 14 nominations, including Best New Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Direction of a Musical. The show made the leap across the pond in 2013, beginning previews on 25th February and officially opening on 21st March, and has been delighting audiences at the Prince of Wales with its crude, witty satirical humour.
The Book of Mormon has a book, music and lyrics by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, and the mind behind the hit musical Avenue Q, Robert Lopez. Development of the show began in 2003 when Parker and Stone were noticed by Lopez in the audience of a performance of Avenue Q. They went for drinks and quickly conceived the idea of writing a musical based around Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints.
The show follows the journey of two Mormon missionaries who travel to Africa to preach their religion. They share their scriptures with a small village in Uganda, but find it difficult to interest the locals who have much bigger things to worry about: AIDS, famine, and local warlords. It features hilarious songs like “Hello”, “All American Prophet”, “I Believe” and “I Am Africa”.
Choreography for The Book of Mormon musical is by Casey Nicholaw, who co-directs the show with Parker. Nicholaw is renowned in musical theatre and his work is currently also on display in the West End production of Aladdin. He is known for his high energy production numbers and unique skill at staging musical comedy.
Want to browse for more musicals? Check out our guide to the top 10 musicals in London.
The Book of Mormon is the uplifting and satirical story of two Mormon missionaries who are sent from the comfort of Salt Lake City to Uganda in Africa in order to spread the word of the Mormon church. Whilst Elder Kevin Price is looking forward to his two year mission praying he will be posted to Orlando, his partner Elder Arnold Cunningham, a nerdy overweight missionary is only looking for a best friend. As the unlikely heroes arrive in Uganda their fears are confirmed as they are immediately robbed at gunpoint by a local warlord, General Butt-Fucking-Naked. The local villagers and Mafala Hatimbi soon tell the missionaries about their strategy for coping with life constantly battling against poverty, AIDS and famine, as well as the tyrannical General.
After meeting the other missionaries who have failed to convert the village, the pair develop two different coping strategies for handling the situation. While Elder Price optimistically believes that the Mormon word will prevail, Elder Cunningham finds himself teaching an alternative form of history and religion, one that captures the imagination of the citizens. The pair wrestle with their own integrity and beliefs, coming together to find that they both rely on each other in very similar ways.