MUSIC OWL AWARDS: 2nd – lyrics; 4th – to go to with friends
When I went: 16 March 2013, 30 December 2015, 5 May 2018
Location: Prince of Wales Theatre, London
Performers: 2013: Gavin Creel (Elder Price), Jared Gertner (Elder Cunningham), Stephen Ashfield (Elder McKinley), Giles Terara (Mafala Hatimbi); 2015: Stephen Ashfield (Elder McKinley), Nic Rouleau (Elder Price), Brian Sears (Elder McKinley), Alexia Khadime (Nabalungi), Giles Terara (Mafala Hatimba); 2018: Dom Simpson (Elder Price), J Michael Finley (Elder Cunningham), Robyn Rose (understudying Nabalungi), Steven Webb (Moroni / Elder McKinley), Richard Lloyd King (Mafala Hatimbi), Dean Maynard (Price’s Dad / Joseph Smith / Mission President), Michael Moulton (General / Satan)
Creative team: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone (book, music, lyrics), Scott Rudin (producer), Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker (co-directors), Casey Nicholaw (choreographer), Nicholas Finlow (musical director)
Approximate price: £85 and £100
Special points: Irreverence
Best bit: Hasa Diga Eebowai
If I could change one thing: Better female characters
The Book of Mormon is a modern musical phenomenon, constantly selling out theatres in Broadway and the West End and triggering endless column inches and headlines due to its controversial subject matter, language and overall irreverence.
For me, it was a breath of fresh air: witty lyrics, strong songs and a book that keeps up the humour and heart all the way through. There are loads of musical highlights, including the opening song Hello! (always good to have a strong opening number, as illustrated in Chicago), Hasa Diga Eebowai, Turn it Off, Spooky Mormon Hell Dream and I Believe. Weirdly, even with the amount of fun that is poked at them in this musical, you don’t leave the theatre disliking Mormons; if anything, you regard them with more affection.
The humour is quite laddish as times, and there is only really one female character, but if you like the first few songs you’ll be set all the way through. The strong language may not be suitable for all, particularly children, but if your parents have a good sense of humour, they’ll enjoy this show just like my Owl ancestors did. Otherwise, this would be a good show to see with a group of friends, just so long as none of them are easily offended by off-colour jokes.
2013 & 2015:
Both performances were first-rate, with Stephen Ashfield particularly polished as Elder McInley. The original lead actors – Gavin Creel as Elder Price and Jared Gertner as Elder Cunningham – were also especially impressive, highlighting all the finer points of their characters with ease, and Alexia Khadime’s vocals as Nabalungi in the 2015 performance were amazing.
Casey Nicholaw’s choreography was also worthy of note, helping to add sparkle to the Spooky Mormon Hell Dream number in particular.
J Michael Finley really committed to the role of Elder Cunningham and was very funny throughout, and Dom Simpson was alternately endearing and wonderfully annoying as Elder Price, although there were a couple of vocal strength issues in I Believe. The fact that it was my third time seeing the show and it was still fresh and witty shows how good the material is. Robyn Rose understudied the role of Nabalungi and sang beautifully.