Imagine if ‘Veggie Tales’ merged with ‘South Park’ to form a live-action musical. Laugh out loud funny, but be prepared for some adult content.
Imagine if ‘Veggie Tales’ merged with ‘South Park’ to form a live-action musical, the result would be very similar to The Book of Mormon. Fair warning, if the thought of a man who has maggots in his scrotum is disturbing, the show is not for you. If such a condition is found to be humorous, don’t miss The Book of Mormon at the Schuster Center.
Anyone attending the theatre expecting a ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ type musical is in for a rude awakening and has probably never heard of ‘South Park.’ Whoever is seated next to such a person, will have more arm room halfway into the first act when the F-bomb is directed towards God, repeatedly in a rousing musical number. Yes, it’s a little harsh and would be sacrilegious, if it wasn’t presented in such a funny manner. You can either laugh or cry, and who pays those ticket prices to sit and cry?
The Book of Mormon follows a pair of Mormon missionaries, Elder Price (David Larsen) and Elder Cunningham (Cody Jamison Strand) to Uganda to spread their faith. Price is the All American/top of the class type, very confident and sure of himself to accomplish great things. Meanwhile, Cunningham is loveable, but totally clueless…a kind hearted Cartman type. The duo are total opposites, except for their matching starch white shirts, but both actors excel in their roles.
Their mission in Africa is far from the paradise the Elder’s had hoped for as they are surrounded by Aids, famine, and murders. Yet somehow, humor is able to be found in all the suffering. The entire village is in danger, especially the women (threatened with being circumcised), of General Butt Naked (and I thought Woody was bad). The only hope the Mormons have of making any progress is through Nabulungi (Candace Quarrels), who wants to escape to Salt Lake City. A running joke through the show is the different names that Cunningham calls her, including Neosporin. One name he doesn’t use, but should is Aretha Franklin, because her voice is full of soul.
Due to circumstances I won’t reveal, it’s Cunningham who ends up ‘preaching’ to the villagers in his own unique and imaginative style. If all ministers took after Cunningham’s methods of giving a sermon then low attendance at churches probably wouldn’t be such a problem, or at least nobody would go to sleep. He not only stretches the truth, he obliterates it, as Darth Vader plays a prominent role in Cunningham’s version of the gospel. Plus, in his narrative, just kissing a frog isn’t nearly enough as it’s taken to the highest form of intimacy. A highlight in The Book of Mormons is when the villagers put on a production of the story Cunningham has told them equipped with diarrhea jokes and umm oversized props from adult stores. Trust me, no matter your religion or lack thereof, you have never seen the gospels portrayed like this. It makes a Miley Cyrus concert look tame. You will end up down on your knees, either in a fit of laughter or seeking forgiveness for laughing at untasteful material.
Beyond all the shock and a few instances where the line of decency is crossed and ran with even further, is a masterfully toward story. I for one went in expecting the boundaries of social acceptance to be pushed, as I know what the creators of ‘South Park’ are capable of, and I wasn’t disappointed. Beneath all the R-rated content is an inspiring tale that touches the heart.
The entire cast is wonderful in their roles, as Larsen and Strand are like angels sent to earth to fill these roles. Of the talented ensemble, which provides the same high quality of song and dance found in any other musical, special mention goes to Elder McKinley who suppresses his homosexual tendencies and scores a lot of laughs. The voices are all top notch and a variety of music genres are used from some hard rock to soft ballads.
The Book of Mormom is certainly a wild ride, as you never know what might happen next. Keep an eye out for cameos by Yoda and Johnnie Cochran. It’s certainly laugh out loud funny, but be prepared for some adult content. Reserve your seat now, do not wait until a ‘latter day’ to find out what happens to the man with maggots in his scrotum.
Mike Woody is a life long resident of Dayton, and has a passion for writing, which is good because he doesn't excel at much of anything else, except eating.