Theater Review: The Book of Mormon May 06, 2013
The Book of Mormon Theatre Review
Book of Mormon
4 stars / 4 stars
Recommended Ages 16+
Starring Mark Evans and Christopher John O'Neil
At the Princess of Wales Theatre, Toronto, until June 9th
Well, it's here. And dammit, it's about time Toronto has a big stinking hit on its hands.
Above all else, I'm a theatre guy. You can see me in all the school plays and I love going to the theatre. It's my idea of the perfect night out. But I also know that most of the student body of White Oaks doesn't really give a hootenanny about musicals and drama - and I can respect that.
But today this changes. If you love or hate religion, never seen theatre, or just enjoy laughing, you need to go and see The Book of Mormon in Toronto.
I've seen a lot of musical theatre, and this show is in my top three EVER. It's really that good - I went opening night last Tuesday and the show was great. The book was sharp, the actors were hysterical, the lights and scenes were big and flashy, but overall, I was most impressed by how smart and sweet the show was.
After seven years of development, Matt Stone and Trey Parker (Famous of the TV series South Park) teamed up with Robert Lopez (Famous of the musical Avenue Q) to fulfill their dreams of writing a musical about Mormons. Their dream is now is hottest ticket on Broadway and in Toronto - and for a good reason.
The story is about two young Mormon missionaries - Elder Price (Mark Evans) and Elder Cunningham (Christopher John O'Neil), who are sent on a two year mission in Uganda, Africa. There, the duo must fight a brutal warlord, AIDS, atheism, disease, and even each other if they hope to do something incredible.
If you don't understand religion or the comedic style of the show - its okay. A lot of it is explained humourously in the show. It's the kind of story you enjoy more the less you know walking into the theatre.
The show is not perfect. The mics were a little glitchy, and the comedic timing isn't quite there with the entire ensemble. But these hiccups are so small don't let these stop you from seeing the show. It's funny, crude, touching, and it really shines a bright light on the dangers and great reward religion brings into life.
As a quick warning - this show is not for the young, faint of heart, or largely conservative. The language is awful, and there are some very rude and dark themes in the show. But it's presented in a light, flashy way it's easy to swallow.
The only problem now is getting tickets. There's only a handful of single tickets left for most performances - and they aren't cheap. The best bet is a ticket lottery - it starts two and a half hours before each performance outside the Princess of Wales Theatre. 24 winners will be drawn for the chance to buy one or two tickets to that show for $29 each. It's a great deal - if you win. More than 100 names were entered when I saw the show opening night.
If you really can't get seats, buy the cast album. The music is great, and you can enjoy a lot of the show's humour without really being too spoiled. If you like surprises, then avoid the last two tracks of the album.
There's a reason I didn't include a title for this article - there's one thing I want to stress: GO SEE THIS SHOW. This will convert you to the love of God, musical theatre, or even both. If you can't see it in Toronto, go to Broadway or London! It's just as good.
This musical deserves the praise it's receiving. I've already bought a ticket to see it again in three weeks. And I hope I may see you there.
By: Tyler Collins