The Book of Mormon is entertaining though simplistic

Posted by & filed under REVIEWS, Theatre.

What you’ve probably heard about Broadway Across Canada’s production of The Book of Mormon is that it has sold out. You’ve probably also heard that the Broadway production won 9 Tony awards, including best musical. It opened to critical acclaim in the West End and now it’s touring.

Which means that it should be work of marvel right?

Broadway Across Canada’s production of The Book of Mormon is a satirical, cutting musical that features some outstanding performers. It tells of Mormon missionaries who are eager to start their two year mission. Elder Price prays to be placed in Orlando, Florida. But he winds up with Elder Cunningham, an insecure nerd who is looking for a best friend, in Uganda. Here the people are more concerned with famine and war and AIDS then religion.

The musical features strong songs and music. The performances are what you go to the theatre for though amongst the dancing and singing there is plenty of Jesus Christ in a lit up robe, dictators with inappropriate names and a play depicting Joseph Smith that is straight out of fantasy.

The Book of Mormon with all of its satirical content, still at the end of the day ends the narrative with a proverbial bow tie. It is critical of the Mormon religion in particular and therefore all religions, but it doesn’t go deeply into how missionaries go into communities that are less fortunate than them with promises that they can’t keep. The musical touches on this but pulls back from the line and remains in the realm of the ridiculous. This makes The Book of Mormon simplistic.

But the musical is entertaining and has very strong performances and music. A.J Holmes as Elder Cunningham just has a little bit more depth in his abilities, playing the overbearing, neurotic sidekick with a big voice. Billy Harrigan Tighe as Elder Price has so much talent, singing and dancing his way across the stage.

The Book of Mormon is a strong production by Broadway Across Canada. Just keep in mind that it’s a satirical musical.

Broadway Across Canada’s production The Book of Mormon plays until April 5th. More information is available online.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

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