Arts Reviews

The Book of Mormon Musical @ Prince of Wales Theatre

This uplifting musical follows the story of two Mormons who are sent to Uganda to teach people about their religion. I had never heard of the Mormon religion before seeing the show, a branch of Christianity initiated by Joseph Smith in the 1920s. They both trained as missionaries, and the other people they trained with were sent to various parts of the world.

Elder Price (who loved Orlando and desperately wanted to be sent there), played by KJ Hippensteel, was paired with Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand), an extremely funny but also socially awkward character. Cunnigham is a lovable guy, yet his parents reveal that he has a tendency to lie (or ‘make things up’). This is evident throughout the musical, as it turns out he has in fact not even read the book of Mormon, and instead, teaches people his own, made – up version of the religion.

“It had the audience (including myself) in fits of laughter”

The musical was written by Matt Stone, Trey Parker and Robert Lopez. If Stone and Parker sound familiar, it is because they are also the creators of South Park. This was clear through the sense of humour of the performance, which had the audience (including myself) in fits of laughter. It was absolutely hilarious, and not for those who are easily offended! The speeches and songs satirise the religion, and Elder Price questions whether his beliefs are valid. The funniest moment for me was when the people of Uganda gave an amazing performance to the principle of the missionaries to show them what they had learnt about the Mormon religion. However, it was all an outrageous lie – for example, Elder Cunningham told them that Joseph Smith had diarrhoea and that this was in the book of Mormon. They had amazing costumes and props, such as a blonde wig made out of twigs to represent Joseph’s blonde hair.

“The props were spectacular”

As well as the humour, the performers clearly had a lot of talent. They all acted, danced and sang amazingly, in particular the character Nabalungi (played by Leanne Robinson). She was a fantastic singer, both solo and when singing with the other characters. Another thing I found hilarious was that the boys could not remember her name, calling her something more and more entertaining each time (including ‘Nicki Minaj’ and ‘Nigel Farage’). The props were spectacular, especially in a scene in which Elder Price dreams that he is in Hell. There was a red set representing fire, with the devil looming over him.

With the holidays here, It’s a perfect time to see something new, so If you can get to London, this musical at the Prince of Wales Theatre is your perfect opportunity. I would highly recommend this musical  – it had the audience up on their feet at the end especially with the characters upbeat singing and dancing.

9/10- Unmissable, almost perfect.

Emily Patel

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Image courtesy of ‘The Book of Mormon’ official website.

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