You see, @TheMattCave is pretty much in love with all things Trey Parker. And while I know that all of the things he loves are a Trey Parker & Matt Stone combo, for some reason he only ever refers to Trey Parker. Maybe there's a history here that I don't know about... Regardless, there is much bro love. Much bro love. I have entered the vehicle on several occasions to find myself greeted by "America, Fuck Yeah!" blaring from the speakers. And while I can say that I would gladly have gone to see The Book of Mormon and enjoy it on my own, this one was very much for my loving husband who gets dragged to all of the shows that I want to see - I know it's "dragged" because after The Book of Mormon he went on quite the eloquent speech about how it was the perfect play, and not like the boring long ones that we usually see... and then proceeded to list the titles of these boring long ones that, though he enjoyed, had to admit that they could have told the same story in a much more succinct way... and by that I think he means less dancing...
...How did I end up marrying someone who can't appreciate a good old fashioned dance fight?
So you already have @TheMattCave's verdict on the play. "It was perfect!" And I do have to give it to The Book of Mormon, the fan-base that the creators bring in truly does make a night at the theatre more accessible (and appealing) to those who may not actively seek out the thrill of a live musical. I felt the South Park fandom in the air from our 2nd balcony seats. Normally I don't like 2nd balcony. Sat there once for Les Mis, and while I'm pretty sure that the actors on stage did in fact have faces, I will never really know for sure. Luckily this time around we weren't in THE nosebleeds within nosebleeds section. These actors did in fact have faces and I saw them for myself! Why do I mention where I sat in the theatre? Because the air shifts as you move up or down in price range. We were in the cheap seats, and thus I had the privilege of a show within a show, listening to the awe of those who needed to recite everything they saw the moment they saw it: "Dude, there's a bible in his ass! That's so funny!" Which I have to admit was better than the show taking place a few rows away from me in which one lucky audience member got to explain everything that was happening on stage: "What is that?" "It's an X-ray." "But what is it?" "It's his ass." "What's that?" "It's a bible." "I don't understand." "It's an x-ray of a bible in his ass." "But why?" *head desk*
Yes, this is the variety that you will find in The Book of Mormon audience. And while I am certain that somewhere in the front few rows (where I usually try to spend waaaayyyy too much on tickets) there were golf claps at the end of each number, this was truly a show for everyone - over 16.
In true Trey Parker (et al.) fashion, there is casual social commentary, rampant religious commentary, a song about Aids, and a trip to Hell. All led by two characters in the classic Parker/Stone style, who might as well be Stan and Cartman - only Mormon. The dynamic duo bring joy, laughter, history, and a lot of hole poking into not only Mormon culture, but a lot of "white" ways of thinking. Not for the prude at heart by any means. In fact, next time I do hope for better seats so that I might sit with the higher theatre class, just to hear the reactions of the little old couple who buy season tickets without researching what they've gotten themselves into.
While the entire cast and crew did a fantastic job, I have to give praise to Cody Jamison Strand who owned the lovable awkwardness of Elder Arnold Cunningham. He carried the spirit of Josh Gad while still making the character his own. He'll break your heart as he yearns for the best friend he's never had, and bring you to tears with laughter as he fumbles his way around his own version of Mormon culture. You'll want to hug him, kiss him, and let him baptize you to save your soul from the fiery pits of Mordor!
Candace Quarrels was the sweet and innocent Nabulungi. And while Quarrels was ever bit as sweet as her character demanded, you can tell that this girl is a rock star!
And finally, I have to mention Melvin Brandon Logan on my husband's behalf. It is uncanny how many varieties of ways that this man can express the maggots living inside of his scrotum. Apparently it was so awe-inspiring that @TheMattCave couldn't leave within his very own "I have maggots in my scrotum" boxer shorts.
I happened to leave with a "Fuck you, God" t-shirt, because I always get a show shirt and this was one just so darn cute. Of course I had to wear it almost right away - just in time to answer the door for girl scouts. Luckily I don't think they've seen the show or read Luganda (or Swahili, I didn't actually research which language they use in the show).
Yes, this there is no doubt that The Book of Mormon is crude, but it's got a sweet side that Russel Peters just doesn't, so don't fear what you will see and hear on stage. This is no collection of cheap laughs. The Book of Mormon has researched it's inspiration source, it makes smart observations, and it tells a story filled with heart, that just so happens to be surprising well-balanced with the politically incorrect humour that Team America did in film. No, there is no puppet sex in this one, but I don't think you'll be disappointed by the Fuck Frog and sexualized baptism!
If you haven't yet, find yourself a ticket and enjoy this unique theatre experience! You'll be sure to sing "Hello!" to everyone as you dance your way back home after!