The Book Of Mormon Brisbane Review @ QPAC

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'The Book Of Mormon' 'The Book Of Mormon'

Fabulously camp, completely non-PC, rollickingly ridiculous.


For a moment you wonder how on earth a production like 'The Book Of Mormon' is able to stand on its two feet in 2019. How is it that one of the most successful musicals of all time is centred on parodying religion?

Then you watch it.

The writing here is extremely clever, but it's masked as almost childish and a little elementary. Don't worry though – that's a good thing. The humour is completely absurd and yet it manages to not only resonate but also entertain throughout the entire show. We're talking jokes about genitals, jokes about race, sexuality, AIDS... The list goes on. And on.

However what frames 'The Book Of Mormon' is an overarching message of community and understanding. It's heartwarming and almost emotional at times. As you can see, there's a lot of ground covered here.

The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints itself has taken out advertising inside the playbills of the show overseas, demonstrating its (initially hesitant) approval of the performance, with some mormons saying that it's like watching versions of themselves in a funhouse mirror. The fact that the church is willing to let this piece of musical theatre exist as it playfully rips them to shreds for the purpose of a laugh is admirable.

In this particular iteration of 'Mormon' are some wonderful cast members. There's of course the two leads Elder Price and Elder Cunningham (Blake Bowden and Nyk Bielak respectively). 'You And Me (But Mostly Me)' is hysterical between these two. It sets up Elder Price perfectly as the one who just wants to succeed and take the spotlight, while Elder Cunningham has dreams of that magnitude but barely enough confidence and self-assurance to make them a reality.

Each Mormon in this show brings something individual and gorgeous to this performance. Special mentions for Joel Granger as Elder McKinley (whose facial expressions and body movements are insane to say the least) and Morgan Palmer as Elder Poptarts (for just how quirky and sickeningly sweet he is).

Then of course there's cast members such as the beautiful Tigist Trode as Nabulungi, a gorgeous African villager who welcomes the Mormons with open arms, and Augustin Aziz Tchantcho successfully pulls off terrifying but goofy as The General.

The show is a surprising success visually. The African sets are beautifully detailed while the more outlandish scenes (for example 'Spooky Mormon Hell Dream') are fully-realised and totally immersive.

Musical number highlights include the aforementioned 'Spooky Mormon Hell Dream' (featuring appearances from Lucifer himself as well as Hitler, Darth Vader and Jeffrey Dahmer), 'Turn It Off' (an upbeat musical handbook about ignoring any sinful feelings one might have) and 'Hasa Diga Eebowai', translating to 'F... You God' and sung in a cheerful, tribal manner – making it all the more hilarious.

With a return Brisbane season just announced for 2020, it's clear that 'The Book Of Mormon' is a show that is showing no signs of stopping and, for that matter, no signs of presenting itself as a production that aims to offend for the sake of offending.

There's a method to this madness, a method that has made it one of the most successful musicals of all time. Give it a chance... You'll see why.

★★★★★

‘The Book Of Mormon’ plays QPAC until 31 May, and returns in January 2020.

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