The Book of Mormon Review
Review by Callum Stott.
"More laughter guaranteed than any other musical"
Broadway and the West End’s hit musical The Book of Mormon arrives in Scotland’s capital, bringing with it more laughter guaranteed than any other musical, as well as being an uplifting story of individuality and celebrating the differences in us all.
The story focuses on two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who go to Uganda, Africa, to try and convert people to the church. These privileged American teens have grown up with little stress, with Elder Price dreaming of visiting his favourite place, Orlando, Florida. As they arrive in Uganda, their bags are robbed from them, and they are greeted with poverty and famine as far as the eye can see.
Within the Book of Mormon, this is a Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, version of Africa with characters big and loud and filled with stereotypes. Highlighting the differences in perspectives between the privileged Americans and the poorer Ugandan people, allows you to relate more to the Ugandan people and how out of touch with reality these young American teens are.
The show is packed with hilarious moments, including a brilliant number called Turn It Off. Within this number, the Mormon group leader shows how the young Mormon missionaries suppress the worst moments in their lives, or thoughts of sin, by just turning these feelings off like a light switch. This number, of course, breaks into an elaborate tap routine with bright costumes and clever choreography and is pure Broadway magic.
The cast is a West End standard, and Conner Peirson is the highlight as Elder Cunningham. His energy radiates across the stage and brings excellent humour whilst nailing the energy of the teenage character brilliantly. Additionally, Avaiva Tulley delivers a powerful performance as Nabulungi, a young girl the missionaries are introduced to in Uganda. Her number, Sal Tlay Ka Siti is a huge highlight and deserves the cheers it garners from the huge Edinburgh Playhouse audience.
The Book of Mormon as a musical is controversial. I would happily say that the show never feels like a mocking of Mormonism and is a parody of all religions. It also highlights some of the features within the religious books we would, from a modern eye, not feel applies now.
An example of how the Mormon church views the show is in the way we are greeted enthusiastically by Mormon missionaries standing outside of the theatre at the end, wanting to tell people about their beliefs. The church sees this as a great way to get people to find out about the work of the church.
Overall, The Book of Mormon is a celebration of individuality. It’s a hilarious two-and-a-half-hour musical filled with excellent music and makes you leave the theatre with a huge smile on your face.