Nearly a month ago (gosh time goes quickly) a dear friend of mine took me to the theatre as a belated birthday present and we were lucky enough to see The Book of Mormon, and have amazing seats as well! We decided on Book of Mormon because (as a very very privileged young lady) I often go to the theatre with my mum, and I knew this would be the one show I would not be able to attend with her.
However, as the lights came up at the interval, I immediately had my phone out telling her to book tickets to go and see the show. It’s as incredible as everyone: reviewers, awards-givers, humble theatre-goers says and I can fully see why it won so many Tonys, especially for the off-stage action like Book and Music and Lyrics.
The creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, together with the musical creator and lyricist of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, have conceived a musical that is full of heart, humour and hypnotic songs. I actually thought it would be a lot more offensive than it actually was; in fact the crudeness doesn’t detract in any way from the magic of the story.
The songs are incredible, with that infectious beat and lyrics that a true musical boasts, songs that you’ll have in your head for weeks to come. And if Robert Lopez’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he won an Oscar last year for writing the music and lyrics of the biggest animated movie of all time, Frozen. (That makes him the youngest ever EGOT holder!)
So when you take it in to account that the same guy who wrote Hasa Diga Eebowai also wrote Do You Wanna Build A Snowman, you kind of have to have a giggle to yourself. But when you look at the actually music and musical rhythms themselves, it’s easy to see why both songs come from the same genius. The songs in Book of Mormon are so catchy and so uplifting, it’s kind of like a Disney movie in itself… only the most corrupted Disney movie ever.
It’s obvious that this musical was created by people who love musicals: there are nods to musical classics of the past, including Sound of Music and the Lion King, and there are nods to the musical tropes in themselves, like the big brassy musical number Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Though it’s not the ‘typical’ musical from its themes and subjects matters (though really, what is… I mean, does anyone actually know what the point of Cats is?) it embraces the idea of the musical with repeated riffs and the huge closing number to the first act.
The storyline is simple and easy to follow, which allows the characters, the music and the dialogue to really shine. It goes without saying that after the first couple of numbers, I had a huge grin on my face and was thinking ‘Now that’s an incredible musical’.
I’m of the opinion that a musical should make you feel something and you should know what it’s trying to make you feel. Whether it’s miserable in Les Miserables or happy in Jersey Boys, for me, a good musical leaves me feeling something at the end, and a great musical makes you want to go out and buy tickets for a repeat viewing.
After Book of Mormon, I came out of the theatre grinning from ear to ear, and I haven’t stopped listening to the soundtrack since.
So if you can take the mockery of Mormons, and the gabbing about genitalia, grab your tickets whilst you can… you really don’t want to miss this one.