“A breath of fresh air to the musical theatre world “
**** 4 Stars
Finally after a long pandemic delay the smash hit, Tony and Olivier award winning musical, “The Book of Mormon” makes its debut at the Edinburgh Playhouse the final stop on its first UK tour which started out in 2019.
The show opened on Broadway in 2011 and found instant success thanks to its creators (the minds behind the animated success South Park) tapping into the counter culture in the younger generation of modern society. The show tells the story of two Latter-day Saints missionaries as they attempt to preach the faith of the Church to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village
It sounds a very simple idea for a musical but the book, music and lyrics of Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone delivers a show which redefines the genre, tackling issues including HIV, oppression, female genital mutilation as well as oppression. This combined with lampooning some of the biggest Broadway musicals of modern history makes for a joyous evening of musical theatre that is strictly for adults, it very near the knuckle and if your easily offended think twice, this really needs an open-minded audience for it to succeed and succeed it does.
Performances on the whole are great but the show rests on the leads Elder Cunningham “Conner Peirson” and Elder Price “Robert Colvin”, Pierson shines as the comedy foil of Elder Cunningham and puts the giant heart of the character fully on show and it’s a pleasure to watch. Colvin’s portrayal of Elder Price doesn’t always succeed too often words are dropped and his singing voice needs to be a little bit stronger to fully convince but there is an undeniable charm to his performance that carries the audience along. The leads are supported by a strong 24 member company who shine brightly delivering the gutsy score and comedy in equal measure with style.
Scott Pask’s set design is quite simply the west end production on tour and looks stunning under Brian MacDevitt’s excellent lighting design. Brian Ronan’s sound design is functional but the whole sound level isn’t loud enough, it seems strange to say it, but it feels like the whole thing needs turned up to give it that vital oomph it needs to get the 5 stars that are clearly in this production.
The greatest element of The Book of Mormon is it never takes itself seriously and pays tribute to the entire musical theatre universe with The Lion King, Wicked, Phantom of opera and others managing to sneak into the sly nods and occasion just blatant rip offs which are aided and abetted by Musical Director Colm O’Regan and his 10 piece band who are in terrific form throughout.
The Book of Mormon truly delivers a breath of fresh air to the musical theatre world, sometimes audiences need to be challenged in order preserve the fact that theatre is and always will be the last uncensored space. So what you waiting for! Head to the Edinburgh Playhouse and grab those tickets as many of the performance are already sold out. Well done the Playhouse for opening the Autumn and Winter season but once again bringing the best of the west end to Scotland!
The Book of Mormon, Edinburgh Playhouse Runs until Saturday 8th October for tickets go to: The Book of Mormon Tickets | Edinburgh Playhouse in Edinburgh | ATG Tickets
Please note following the sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II the performance scheduled for Monday 19th September has been cancelled as a mark of respect on the day of the National State Funeral.