The Book of Mormon stage musical is a hoot.
Well, it’s a hoot as long as you’ve got a relatively open mind, don’t mind some almost overused 13-letter expletives, poop humor, silly names, and a complete and total disregard for the sensitivities of various ethnicities or religions.
When I tell you Book of Mormon is by the creators of the South Park television show on Comedy Central, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, I think you might begin to understand why the play comes across like it does.
The big conceit behind South Park is a bunch of little grade-school kids running around Colorado, getting into very odd adventures and cursing. A lot. Ha, ha. Kids cursing. The thought being, I guess, that kids cursing is transgressive and funny. In addition to the cursing kids, South Park also takes aim at various societal trends, religions, what have you, and gets into some seriously pointed satire.
So, take an episode of South Park, drop the kids, remove the restrictions on cursing found even on cable channels, plug in some very catchy musical numbers and make the focus on Mormonism, the fastest-growing “religion” in the world, add in a very basic fish-out-of-water scenario, stereotypes of Mormon missionaries and residents of Uganda, add in some very catchy musical numbers and there you go. That’s Book of Mormon.
I went to the show with Zippy the College Boy and his sort-of date, Hyper Lad, my sister in-law the Crystal Cleaner, my in-laws and my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Smokin’ Hot In Her Going-Out-To-A-Play Dress, and we all enjoyed ourselves a great deal.
Yeah, there was a lot of nervous laughter at some of the more risqué jokes, and I overheard more than one person express disbelief that this play would or even could be put on in button-down Charlotte, North Carolina.
The show definitely isn’t for the younger dudes and dudettes, for the most part. And it’s certainly not for those who are easily shocked by profanity, vulgar situations, harsh stereotypes or people mercilessly mocking religion.
Other than that, though, you’re good.
The show concerns Elder Price, a hotshot young Mormon kid from whom much is expected as he leaves missionary training and heads out into the wilds to convert the heathens. He wants to go to Orlando, but ends up in Uganda, along with another missionary, Elder Cunningham, who might be the most unsuitable missionary in the world.
Elder Price’s massive ego convinces him he’ll land in Uganda and immediately do something “incredible,” because he’s incredible. Elder Cunningham, who hasn’t actually read the Book of Mormon, is mostly along to have a captive best friend and spread the gospel according to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.
Although, yes, there is plenty of cursing and some significantly different interpretations of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the Jesus character, the play actually ends up being a celebration of the good bits about religion.
If you parents get a chance to see the show (It’s touring the country, but most performances tend to be sold out, so act quickly.), you really should go. It’s not for the young dudes and dudettes, mostly because of all the swearing and the fact that most young dudes and dudettes are like parrots in that they play back mostly the stuff you don’t want them to hear, but it’s a great night out for parents.
Not only will you find yourself humming the tunes, but it can provide fodder for a great after-play discussion.
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