Robert Hampton

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5th May 2013

A most amazing blog
Posted by at 11.05pm | 1 response | Stage

Friday night I was in London with my good friend Ian Jones, to see The Book of Mormon, a minor production which has gained a small amount of “word of mouth” publicity.

Ian and Robert selfie

Fun fact: we spent so long faffing about getting this photo taken we failed to notice that the interval had ended and everyone else had gone back inside. Luckily we managed to get back to our seats before Act II began.

This is certainly a popular show – I had to book the tickets in September for a May performance. Eight months of anticipation and excitement: could the show possibly live up to the hype? Minor spoilers for Book of Mormon follow.

# I-I-I have maggots in my scro-o-otum! #

That is one of the least provocative lines in a show which doesn’t so much push the envelope as open it and read the letter. Uganda, where most of the action takes place, is caricatured as a primitive, militia-ruled hellhole where everyone has AIDS. There are jokes about female circumcision and baby rape. There is liberal use of the f-word and c-word. The Lion King it ain’t.

The show manages to get away with all this by simply doing it with an unapologetic panache and style. It also manages a joke rate that eclipses anything else I’ve seen. The gags come so thick and fast, there is just no time to gasp and think, “did they just say that?”

By the time we get to the “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream”, where Elder Price is menaced by Lucifer’s expertly-choreographed minions – including Hitler and OJ Simpson’s defence lawyer – it’s clear that this a show with its tongue very firmly in its cheek. It’s very silly, very funny and the tunes are very catchy (Ian was still singing the opening number “Hello” the next morning).

One group, oddly enough, which comes out of it not too badly, are the Mormons themselves. The Church of Latter Day Saints have taken the precaution of advertising in the show’s programme (and in the nearby Tube station), encouraging theatregoers to explore the faith further. While the Mormon faith (and religion in general) is satirised fairly heavily, the Mormon missionaries themselves are portrayed quite sympathetically. They are naive, too trusting, perhaps sometimes a bit slow-witted, but they always have their hearts in the right place.

It’s my new favourite musical (sorry Avenue Q). I loved it so much, I ordered the cast recording CD on the train home. However, if you are at all interested in seeing the show, I recommend you DON’T listen to the cast recording first – there’s a lot of visual gags in the staging and choreography which can only be appreciated by seeing it live.

t’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, but if you are not easily offended, you should definitely try and see it. The show is booked up months in advance, but I wouldn’t worry; I don’t think it will be closing any time soon. In short – beg, borrow or steal to get a ticket to go and see it!

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One Response
  1. Pingback by London Wander Round « Robert Hampton
    18th June 2013 at 9:56 pm

    […] always like to see a play when I’m down in London. This time round I eschewed singing Mormons and naked Italian men in favour of an altogether more sedate affair, Pastoral at the Soho […]