The Book of Mormon is definitely not for the politically correct or faint of heart. It’s obscene, racist, and sacrilegious – and I was often at times seen to be covering my mouth and questioning “did they actually just say that??” That being said, the music, the scenery and the acting was just spectacular in this hilarious touring production of The Book of Mormon brought to Vancouver by Broadway Across Canada. The applause for the Wednesday evening show garnered a standing ovation within seconds of the lights dimming.
I had first seen a few pieces about The Book of Mormon on Broadway.com and the Tony Awards where it notably won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2011. This delightfully offensive and sharp witted musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (known for South Park fame) and Robert Lopez (known for Avenue Q) has been sold out to audiences in NYC eight shows a week since then. I had hoped it would do a Vancouver tour – and I waited patiently until now. It definitely met my expectations and then some. I will still get the song “Hello” stuck in my head…. well pretty much every time I say Hello to someone.
While most reviews comment on the shocking nature of the show, there is an actual story within the hilarity. It starts by telling a bit of the history of how the Mormonism religion came to be to where it is in current day, with young men and women venturing out into the world, “Two by Two” to offer service and bring people into their religion via teachings and baptism. The Book of Mormon revolves around a star pupil Elder Price played by Billy Harrington Tighe who gets paired with a boisterous and eager to be friends with anyone who will give him attention Elder Cunningham played by StarKid A.J. Holmes. They are paired and instead of being sent to Elder Price’s ideal destination of Orlando, they are sent to a small village in Uganda, where there are met with famine, poverty and AIDS.
A.J. Holmes does an amazing portrayal of Elder Cunningham. He has amazing comedic timing and strong voice during his vocals. Billy Harrington Tighe is equally as strong in the vocals and was outstanding during the passionate song “I Believe”.
Alexandra Ncube portrays the female lead Nabulungi (or is it Jon Bon Jovi… or Narcolepsy… or Necrophilia… or). She does an impressive job of playing the innocent girl, hopeful for a better life in “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (Salt Lake City).
The vocals are solid, the comedy is hilarious and the music is amazing. If you can get over the hurdle of the obscenity, The Book of Mormon is a solid 2+ hours of a fun time. Definitely a must-see for everyone old enough to understand this type of non PC humour.
If you want to come see Book of Mormon, there are 5 shows remaining at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. While tickets are far and few between, The Book of Mormon is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour. In Vancouver, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery, making a limited number of tickets available at $25 cash each. Entries for the lottery will be accepted 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to each performance, with the winners drawn 2 hours before the curtain rises. The lottery will be held on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza, located around the corner from the box office. You can find more information here