Summer 2013 began with a trip to see London’s new smash hit musical ‘The Book of Mormon’, currently playing at the Prince of Wales theatre. To say I had been waiting a long time for this is a massive understatement! I became aware of the show back in 2011 during the hype that surrounded its Broadway opening and subsequent Tony success. The cast album got me through a pretty heavy revision period and has been on a borderline obsessive repeat cycle ever since. Skip forward two years to February 2013, I could feel the excitement building. Thanks to the show’s impeccable marketing I’ve had Mormons following me round London’s underground network for weeks. It’s been quite torturous really. Lectures, assignments, revision and exams got in the way of attending any of the early performances, so I bit the bullet and booked tickets for my first day of freedom.
With my father in tow (he’s my regular theatre companion) I made my way through the sun filled streets of London to Leicester Square. Before we knew it we were in our seats, having been guided by the impeccable ushers at the Prince of Wales, brimming with excitement (and anxiety in my case … I wasn’t sure how my dad was going to take to some of the stronger themes). I needn’t have worried, context is everything and the sheer amount of energy on that stage is difficult to avoid being caught up in.
The whole cast was pretty impressive, the aforementioned energy was sustained throughout, which must be relatively arduous if you’re telling the same jokes night after night. Having seen Alexia Khadime previously in both Wicked and Les Miserables, Nabulungi is a role that definitely allowed her to play to her strengths. Gavin Creel (Elder Price) and Jared Gertner (Elder Cunningham) carried the show and worked well together.
I’m not a greatly religious individual, I believe, but I’m not precisely sure what in; meaning I didn’t find the show’s themes offensive but could see how some could easily be offended. Indeed there were quite a few people who failed to return to their seats for the start of act two. Whether this was down to the religious context, sexual themes or the sustained use of swear words I’m not sure; but it’s not exactly a something you’d want to take your grandmother to. My dad did enjoy himself, I had prepared him for what was to come. I think he found some of the swearing/sexual themes unnecessary but overall inoffensive and we agreed that the overall plot makes a valid point.
We both particularly enjoyed spotting the show tune references in the score. Most of these I had found listening to the cast album … ‘defying gravity’ – ‘you and me but mostly me’; ‘I have confidence’ – ‘I believe’ etc. But I was pretty impressed by my dad’s spot of ‘I hope I get it’ during the entr’acte!
Overall we had a fun afternoon, I adore the score and enjoyed the twists in the plot. It was nice to see a full house really (and I mean REALLY!) enjoying a Wednesday matinee… just use your brain when deciding who to take to see it!