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| 6 September 2019 | Reply

Crown Theatre, Perth – 5 September, 2019
Starring Blake Bowden, Nyk Bielak, Tigist Strode, Tyson Jennette, Joel Granger
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

The Book Of Mormon has been wowing – and I mean WOWING – crowds around the world for the better part of a decade now, with enough awards and acclaim piling up to fill a museum. Somehow, despite taking the theatre world by storm, we’ve managed to avoid spoilers, so went into tonight’s official season opener not knowing what to expect other than laughs (and we’ll keep them to a minimum here, as well).

Written by South Park comic geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone, along with Avenue Q music writer Robert Lopez, The Book Of Mormon is the story of newly graduated Elders Price and Cunningham (Blake Bowden and Nyk Bielak) who are sent on their inaugural posting to a missionary outpost in Uganda.

With the villagers more concerned about AIDS, female genital mutilation and being murdered by the local gun-toting warlord – General Butt-Fucking Naked, played by a fierce Augustin Aziz Tchantcho – the Mormon message doesn’t initially go down a storm. Until, that is, Elder Cunningham steps up with some well-intentioned embellishments to the titular Mormon text, and strikes up a connection with the pretty young Nabulungi (Tigist Strode).

This being written by the same dudes who created not only South Park, but the films Cannibal! The Musical, Orgazmo, Team America and more, it’s no spoiler to share that The Book Of Mormon is sacrilegious, irreverent, profane, adults only and absolutely hilarious – though probably less so for devout believers.

Those who appreciate the absurdity of organised religion, though, will love Parker and Stone’s inspired satire, and most will find it impossible not to singalong with Lopez’s instantly catchy songs. Any musical stands or falls on its showtunes, and You And Me (But Mostly Me), Hasa Diga Eebowai, Turn It Off, Man Up, Baptize Me, I Am Africa and more are all instant classics, while Spooky Mormon Hell Dream is an energetic hyper-red psych trip, man.

Bielak steals the show as Cunningham, channelling a little Jack Black and a little South Park, while Strode and Tyson Jennette as Nabulungi’s father Mafala are equally impressive in their relatively straight roles.

As in South Park, there is no subject too sacred, so brace yourself for some dark humour, but rest assured that despite the glee with which Book Of Mormon skewers the Mormon religion and organised religion in general, it is remarkably respectful not only of the beliefs of its characters, but also in the positivity and uplifting message at its heart.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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