When it comes to comedy I prefer mine raw. So with the writers of South Park and the creator of Avenue Q in the mix, I was expecting this – the hottest show on Broadway that has now arrived in London – to really hit close to the mark, and follow Jackie Mason’s mantra: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die”.
However, this where you will be disappointed. If you are looking to be shocked, this is not the show, unless you are of a very weak disposition. (Or maybe I'm just a little disturbed.)
It is not that the subject matter is not shocking; however, it has all been done previously. Team America and multiple highly offensive (and funny) episodes of South Park have taken the supposed sting out of the tail. Further proof comes from the fact that David Cameron was sitting behind us on the night that we went, and really, how shocking can it be if the PM is there?
The story is relatively simple, two younger Mormon men are sent forth to Uganda to spread the good word of the Book of Mormon. One, as you would expect, is the golden boy of his graduating class, and the other is the kid that you always avoided when the teacher asked you to pair up. They get to Africa and realise it is a very different world to what they have known, and have to deal with theft, local warlords, maggots in scrotums and a mass AIDS epidemic with some very strange, local 'cures'.
In terms of entertainment, the show is very good: excellent production value, great choreography, very slick direction, good quality acting from all of the cast. On-stage chemistry is certainly in place and will only mature as the show now books into next year. (It has taken record advances already and you can’t get a ticket for love nor money.) So you will, no doubt, be entertained.
Working with the team behind Avenue Q, the musical numbers are funny and there are some momentary gems from the cast. However, are tickets going to be worth the 125GBP face value that they are now at? For some the answer is a resounding yes, and the 40 or so that were with me seemed to be having a great time, but I did leave feeling a little short changed.
I’ll be seeing the show again in April and also in May, so will report back if it does grow on me. Hopefully I will not get maggots in my scrotum.
Second Degree paid for his own ticket and program.