So, there’s this musical that’s taken New York and Broadway by storm. It’s about Mormons and it’s probably the most hilarious, cutting, well-observed piece of stage performance you haven’t seen.
Now, finally, The Book Of Mormon is coming to the West End, I’ve been told.
Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park and Team America fame, along with Robert Lopez of Avenue Q, The Book Of Mormon has been storming my iTunes for weeks now. It tells the story of two young Mormons, fresh out of Mormon school, ready to change the world with their eager, happy ways. However, instead of being sent somewhere lovely and sunny, like Florida, they’re sent to Uganda where they’re confronted with famine, female circumcision and AIDS.
To the likes of me, the 30-something, South Park-loving, Parker and Stone aficionados, The Book Of Mormon has been an eagerly awaited masterpiece long before it scooped up multiple Tonys, and numerous other awards.
Parker and Stone have been writing brilliant satire for years, though lost on those of you who dismiss South Park as simply puerile toilet humour. To me, and other South Park fans, their song writing skills had never been in question, their script-writing genius unparalleled. Just check out South Park The Movie’s Blame Canada, which was nominated for an Oscar, It’s Easy M’kay or Team America’s montage song.
The Book Of Mormon is the platform which is opening the eyes of millions to the pair’s talents. It’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t be happier or more excited.
Waiting for it to come to the West End, though, is a tough one. I’ve been told by a friend who knows a guy who knows a guy that the show will be hitting London in January. I wish I could tell you more than that but, at this stage, I cant. Plus, you still don’t know why Book Of Mormon is such a big deal.
Maybe it’s because the humour that’s been tickling me for years is finally becoming accepted or maybe it’s because musical theatre really needed a kick in the funny bone like this.
Avenue Q aside, the musical theatre genre, from this grumpy media-twat’s point of view, has been nothing but a slew of re-hashes, movie remakes and band homages.
Also, bear in mind South Park’s solid history of pissing people off. From Scientology, where Tom Cruise wouldn’t come out the closet, to toying with the fear of depicting the Prophet Mohammed or the episode where Cartman, in an effort to get back at a school bully, feeds the bully the remains of his own parents, South Park can be very controversial.
So, what of the Book Of Mormon? Well, yes, it’s controversial but it’s also very warming. The Mormon Church has said it doesn’t mind the show and, indeed, helps enforce their follower’s faith. That’s great, but as Matt Stone himself said, ‘If you’re going to pick on a religion the safest bet is probably the Mormons. They’re such a happy bunch’.
Now we wait. We wait for official word on The Book Of Mormon coming to the UK and we wait for the hype machine to kick in and the talk show interviews and the bus posters and the word-of-mouth. However, when you DO finally hear about it, book tickets straight away. DO NOT WAIT.
In the meantime, I’d like to leave you with words from The Book Of Mormon musical itself; “Hasa Diga Eebowai”.