In today’s society, more and more religions are being understood and accepted by different people. While this is a great thing, there is one religion that I can’t wrap my head around: Mormonism. It seems that I am not alone in my confusion, because creators of The Book of Mormon (the musical) Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone made the musical specifically to poke fun at the morals of the Mormon church. The audience follows Elder Price (Ryan Bondy) and Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand) to Uganda as they try to convert the Ugandan people to their religion. We meet some interesting characters along the way, and have many laughs. With a hilarious plot and expressive actors to bring it to life, The Book of Mormon is a show that you don’t want to miss.
From the very first doorbell ring, the Mormon chorus is bursting at the seams with energy and talent. Their expressions were over exaggerated, like they need to be with a show such as this one. Every Mormon was overly excited about going far away with their mission partners. Each set of partners had wonderful chemistry, but the main pair of Price and Cunningham were the dynamic duo that made the show what it is. In addition to the Mormon chorus, there was a second chorus of the Ugandans that the Mormons were trying to convert. They captured the fear that Ugandans live in daily. Nabulungi, also known as Neutrogena, Neosporin, and Nikki Manaj, (Candace Quarrels) excelled in her role as the innocent girl that wants to help her tribe. Their choreography was also engaging to watch. They all looked like they were having fun on stage.
Most of the technical elements were spot-on, except for the spotlights. One of the two spotlights continuously varied in size and jolted back and forth to follow the cast on the stage. I would’ve rather listened to them sing in the dark than watch that spotlight any more than I had to. I would’ve been able to hear them though, because the microphones were balanced and at good levels for the majority of the time. Lighting elements fit with the themes as they should. I also noticed the costumes in this show specifically. The Mormons were dressed in the traditional black pants and tie with a white shirt. I almost confused them for Geek Squad tech support with how coordinated they looked. There were many different places that the play took place, and the transitions between them were some of the swiftest that I have ever seen. The technical work in this show was shown off beautifully.
The only caution with this show is the mature theme and language. I can see where one would get offended by the humor, but “I believe” it’s all in good fun. The Book of Mormon is a classic example of theater breaking boundaries in the name of humor, and I highly recommend it. The Mormons will be at the Orpheum Theater through May 29th, so go knock on their door tonight.