The Book of Mormon is the holy scripture of the Church of Latter Day Saints, whose followers are known colloquially to the world as Mormons. In this outrageous musical, the story follows young Mormons Kevin Price and Arnold Cunningham, who are coming of age and are sent to Uganda for their two-year mission.
The Book of Mormon
Written by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, as well as Avenue Q collaborator Robert Lopez, the tone of The Book of Mormon musical certainly follows suit and is not for the faint hearted – full of expletives, vulgar humour and highly offensive satire, it is nevertheless very cunning and at times even a touch principled. In fact, The Book of Mormon is probably more of a homage to musical theatre than a jibe at religion (though there’s plenty of harsh digs) – attributed to the writers’ brilliant understanding of how stories work.
The two young missionaries typify the expression “bright eyed and bushy tailed” in their naïve and optimistic characterisation, exemplified by their realisation that “Africa is nothing like The Lion King!” The duo attempt to spread the word of The Book of Mormon amongst the local population, but struggle as the villagers seem to be preoccupied with surviving war, famine, poverty and AIDS. Matters aren’t helped by the resident warlord who constantly threatens the village’s women with female circumcision.
The Book of Mormon swept up nine Tony awards in 2011, and its transfer to London’s West End is wowing in equal measure.