REVIEW: “The Book of Mormon”

Grant Dickie reviews The Book of Mormon at the Edinburgh Playhouse theatre.

THERE’S  just something about a night at the theatre. The grand surroundings, the buzz of the crowd as they filter in, and the anticipation of the show to come. And, on the opening night of The Book of Mormon at the Playhouse in Edinburgh, nothing was different.

Fantastically inappropriate and just the right level of camp, the collaboration from the creators of South Park and Frozen – yes, you did read that right, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, plus Robert Lopez, a songwriter for musicals – is light-hearted and outright hilarious. First performed in 2011, the production is a satirical look at the inner workings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the religious missions that its new elders must undertake. The production follows two elders on their mission to a remote village in Uganda where they are faced by a community living under oppression and fear of AIDS, female genital mutilation, and starvation.

My companion and I were seated three rows from the front of the stalls’ rear section and were provided with great views of the stage, eagerly anticipating the dimming of the lights. We didn’t have to wait long before we were drawn in to a catchy opening song, Hello (which admittedly, I was singing in my head for days later). Introduced to the cast playing the Mormons, the audience was already in hysterics. But, what we didn’t realise was we would be leaving with sore sides from all the uncontrollable laughter.

The cast are all very talented, but keep your eye on Aviva Tulley whose vocals soared through the theatre beautifully, especially with her solo performance of Sal Tlay Ka Citi. With not many credits under her belt, her performance in The Book of Mormon will surely propel her to a theatre star.

A standout and favourite performance of the night has to go to Spooky Mormon Hell Dream. Gloriously over the top, the staging was eccentric.

The closing performance was a great call back to the first song of the night. Welcoming all the new missionaries into the Mormon life and seeing them out spreading the word – a delightful and satisfying end that still has references to the struggles of living in Uganda.

The Book of Mormon is a must-see, a show that will leave a smile on your face, one that I will most definitely be seeing again.

The Book of Mormon is at the Edinburgh Playhouse theatre until 8 October.

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