I saw “Book of Mormon” over the weekend at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. My wife surprised me with tickets out of nowhere(Thank you again baby!) I heard so many good things about the play, but didn’t really know much about the plot/content. So, I wasn’t quite sure of what I was walking into. But, based upon sweeping the Tonys and the massive hype surrounding this show, my expectations were soaring. Trey Parker and Matt Stone previously produced other musicals I’d seen before with : “Cannibal! The Musical” and “South Park : Bigger, Longer, and Uncut”. Even though these were movies and not live theater, I was familiar with their general approach to comedy. No topic is off-limits, and being gross = big yucks. Sometimes, I think they get caught up in the shock humor a bit too much. And this is why I enjoyed both of their musical endeavors more than their TV show South Park – fewer poop jokes, more wit and content. Also, being that I detest organized religions and standard Broadway musicals, the prospect that BOM might take a stab at both at once had me salivating with anticipation.
So, what usually happens when the bar is set so high? Well, you get a “War of The Worlds”(2005) scenario where I walk away severely disappointed with what could have been. But, these guys just hit it right out of the fucking park. From start to finish, I was captivated, entertained, and just generally laughing and happy. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, because a great deal of the comedy was further enhanced by the element of surprise, due to my lack of prior knowledge to its content.
The big laughs started when the elders landed in Uganda, and discovered how far life in Africa was from a version of “The Lion King”. Some other random highlights included : the quote “I’m wet with salvation” and the musical number “Turn it off”. Really fantastic stuff. They delivered on all fronts. They poked fun at cheesy, over the top Broadway numbers while simultaneously, completely eviscerating Mormonism in the process.
It was quite an achievement. As for the actors, they did an outstanding job. Great timing and delivery for all the jokes served to really make the writing come to life. The two leads, Gavin Creel and Jared Gertner had a nice rhythm together as Elders Price and Cunningham. But, Grey Henson stole the show with his portrayal of not-so-closet homosexual character Elder McKinley. One thing I couldn’t figure out though, was how the Latter-day “saints” actually advertised in the playbill for BOM. Or furthermore, how they didn’t protest the balls out of this production. Seriously, wtf am I missing here? If this isn’t a total dismantling of how ridiculous their faith is, I must have been watching some other musical. Maybe Mormons are just too naive and obtuse understand what they are watching. Come to think of it, that’s probably the answer right there.
This show totally ruled. Trey and Matt finally put it all together. Where South Park falls short for me, this came through.
Although, I can’t quite give this a perfect rating, due to going a little bit too far with some sophomoric references to blood in your stool that didn’t seem entirely necessary. Maybe I’m being a bit too sensitive in my old age. But, I have two kids now, so I have a license to be more crotchety, god damn it! Bottom line; I’d love to see this again someday – particularly with some religious people in my immediate vicinity. There’s no better method to get people to realize what fucktards they are for buying into organized religion, than with some crafty, well-written, relatable humor. And BOM is some potently funny stuff. So, “Bravo!” Matt and Trey. “Encore!” and… “Hasa Diga Eebowai!!!!”
Overall Rating : 9.9/10