I’m not even sure where to start or what to say. The best way to describe my experience with
the Book of Mormon musical is that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting but not
as good as I had been led to believe.
With three Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best
Original Score) and a Grammy Award (Best Musical Theater Album) among all the
critical acclaim, I was prepared for this show to be quite the
performance. And in a way, I suppose it
Given that the Book of Mormon was the brainchild of Trey
Parker and Matt Stone, I wasn’t expecting the Lion King (although there was a
token reference or two). I also wasn’t
expecting some long, drawn out episode of South Park (which this musical felt
like to me). Don’t get me wrong, I’m no
stranger to South Park and the humor that Trey and Matt bring to the TV
screen. I’ll even admit that I often
find it entertaining but the Book of Mormon just didn’t do it.
The musical composition was good. The cast was great. But the show felt flat to me. I’m not the kind of person that demands some
deep, philosophical meaning behind the story but the show just didn’t have any
depth to it. Sure, there was a plot and
if you really wanted to you could pull some higher meaning from the production. But basically, you have one over-achieving
Mormon with grand ideas who has his dreams crushed when he is given an
assignment he wasn’t expecting, as well as a companion who is less than
ideal. Together they struggle with their
missionary in Africa, throw in some satire at the expense of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints and Africa and ta-da! The Book of Mormon musical.
There wasn’t a single character that I felt invested in or
actually cared about. The only character
you can even slightly get behind is Nabulungi, but even this character is lost
amongst the satire that is Parker and Stone.
To be fair, I did find myself constantly chuckling throughout the entire
musical or smirking at what was unfolding on stage. I even genuinely laughed once or twice. And yes, I did enjoy the music although maybe
not always because of the lyrics or context.
Possibly the two most memorable parts of the show for me are the opening
number and the two disco balls they use to light up the entire hall. There was also an older gentleman sitting
next to us that would fall asleep and then suddenly wake up while clapping and
I enjoyed myself and especially the company I was with. Brie and I had a good time in spite of the
musical. Considering who was behind the
creation of the Book of Mormon I also understand the enormous public attention
and praise that this production has garnered.
I get it. The general public loves
this kind of satire. They just eat it up. Look at South Park and its success and it’s
easy to see how the Book of Mormon has been so well received on stage. It had its moments but for me, it just wasn’t
there. It is the first show that during
intermission I actually gave thought to the idea of leaving.
So final verdict? I
have to give it a whopping four stars out of ten. I didn’t hate the show and I even found
myself entertained at times but it just fell short for my personal taste. I do however appear to be in the minority and
that’s alright. It was a fun night and
hey … disco balls!