When The Doctor tried to book tickets for the Book of Mormon on Broadway as my Christmas present, he found the show was pretty well sold out for the forseeable future. But then, amazingly, one day popped up as having spare seats- February 29th. Our guess is that the original calendar for the show hadn't taken into account the Leap Year, so this date suddenly became available. The tickets were still outrageously expensive, but then, this is the hottest show on Broadway - and I got to see it yesterday as a Leap Day treat.
I've wanted to see the show ever since I read an amazingly good review in the New York Times last year. In fact, I wanted to see it anyway - I love anything by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and particularly loved their take on musicals in the film South Park: Bigger Longer and Uncut. They can be absolutely shocking, but I have huge admiration for their black, irreverent humour and the way they are not afraid to skewer any sacred cows.
The production did not disappoint. The story of two naive Mormon missionaries who are sent to Uganda, it is a glorious pisstake not only of Mormonism (and let's face it, we urgently need this when Mitt Romney, a Mormon, could become the next President of the USA) but of all religion, and, like quite a lot of Parker and Stone's other stuff, also neatly satirizes how America sees the world. But it's also a fabulous show - it's got great song and dance numbers, hilariously funny characters, and even a (sort of) moral. And, if you're a fan or otherwise of musical theatre, you'll appreciate in particular how the songs reference a number of well-known musicals, including The Lion King and Les Miserables.
This is very edgy, foul-mouthed comedy and whether or not you'd get away with putting this show on anywhere outside New York (or perhaps California) I don't know. I'm sure swathes of Middle America would hate it, but the Manhattan audience absolutely loved it - and the fact that tickets are so hard to come by says it all. I hear it's coming to London soon, so UK readers, watch out for a West End production. Don't go and see it if you're a) a Mormon, b) easily shocked or c) would not like a song whose main lyrics translate as 'F*** God. Do go and see if you a) like black, black humor b) love South Park, and c) have ever been to Orlando.