“A decadent and self-indulgent musical which ultimately proves repellent” The Telegraph
“The Book of Mormon merely flirts with blasphemy but there is something very winning about it” The Independent
“A mildly amusing musical. I had a perfectly pleasant time, but the idea that the show is either daringly offensive or a Broadway breakthrough is pure codswallop.” The Guardian
“Undoubtedly some theatergoers will find the show puerile or just offensive. Yet this is an affectionate portrait of culture clash and friendship, which parodies several classic musicals.” Evening Standard
It seems nearly impossible to open your morning paper in the train without reading about the triumphs of Book of Mormon. The gloss, the sweetly praise dripping paragraph after another making you feel like you have missed the greatest thing in the history of theatre. “Laughing out loud to the verge of wetting oneself” I have heard people say. “The best thing I have ever seen!” and “The ultimate level of entertainment!” All this seems to be rather standard what comes to this show. After painfully waiting for 6 months for my tickets, I finally had the pleasure to share the sold out show with hundreds of others. I got my sweets to get my blood running, anxiety and excitement making my ears buzz with adrenaline. Finally it was there. The moment I had been wishing for such a long time. I was ready to experience the sweet nectar of sarcastic laughing fit. But there I was…2 hours later frantically trying to figure out if I was too bitter, bored or spoiled. I felt deceived.
The 9 Tony awards winning show definitely is a piece of some decadent entertainment, but being shocking and groudbreaking? I’m not quite sure I’d use those words to describe what I saw. The story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to remote village in Uganda definitely is intriguing and rather captivating. It brings out the harsh reality of the villagers and pokes fun of the modern society’s pseudo problems whilst pressing on harsh themes of AIDS, brutality and corruption in those African areas. Educated viewer can easily notice what’s being said and one slightly less interested in the modern life, would find their little jokes in the show. Everything seems to be on it’s right place for a great story, right?! Openly shouting out to God to shove it, raping the innocent, flying a bullet between man’s eyes in front of the entire village…but what is missing then? Why wasn’t I rolling around the theatre floor in laughter?
When lyrics are witty and cast is great, then why am I only mildly amused?
I couldn’t help but constantly think about why I didn’t find what I saw “the best thing I have ever seen” and ponder on the thought of finding a fault in myself. You see, I didn’t laugh to tears.Maybe the fault lies in my heritage and in my European nature? I suppose the show works brilliantly in American society as everything that’s being splashed into your face from the stage is against all the norms and good taste. But would have you expected anything less from Stone and Parker?
I couldn’t help but find similarities in Book of Mormon and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The intertwining themes of the stories combined with bringing a character into saintly status. On the stage that character was Elder Cunningham and in the film, it was Brian. The head sheep to follow. Both Stone and Parker have openly manifested their love and admiration to the creators of Monty Python, often addressing these men as their role models who dared to attack modern issues through satire and shockingly open methods. To ridicule the ways modern religion keeps collecting followers who often blindly dive into something so seemingly safe. During my Masters Degree studies, I decided to write my dissertation on modern censorship laws with using South Park as case study and example. By the end of all the painful hours in librabry and less painful hours behind the computer watching and analyzing the animated series, I came to conclusion that South Park might just be a modern day’s love child of a King’s Fool, Monty Python and Socratese who got sentenced to death for “corrupting the youth with his beliefs and statements”. Book of Mormon most certainly corrupted the youth and will do the same to the elderly. It corrupts our minds and plays with the borders of good taste. One thing it didn’t do, was shock me.
I’m not sure if I am just being spoiled by high volume of sarcasm and satire in my everyday life, but if anything, the show was jolly good fun, good night out, but not worth my 6 months of painful waiting. In the end I was glad to have witnessed the performance and enjoyed my evening, but I cannot help but feel as if I had been played for fool. What I saw was musical love letter from Matt Stone, Trey Parker and Robert Lopez to Monty Python creators.
I suppose love is a beautiful thing and it doesn’t quite matter which way it’s being manifested. If it’s the theatre stage, then let it be like this! Besides, mind corrupted once, is mind forever changed.
I have reached the point of no return what comes to satire, but surely most of sarcasm loving people out there still have that untouched place in their heart for some interesting musical.
I truly recommend to see the show, but would ask to clear the mind of the reviews and decide to yourself. Simple as that. Just go in, get corrupted and have a laugh.