Review: The Book of Mormon

It’s no secret that I love musicals, so when I heard that The Book Of Mormon was finally coming to Adelaide after touring around Australia for the past three years, I jumped online to buy tickets. The infamous show has been running on Broadway for the past eight years, during which it has garnered many positive reviews, nine Tony Awards (including Best Musical), and a Grammy. Nearly a decade on, it is still one of the hottest tickets in New York City, and overall, one of the most successful Broadway shows of all time. The story follows a mismatched pair of Mormon missionaries (one, a typical by-the-book prodigy; the other, an endearing, under-prepared, self-proclaimed ‘follower’) who are assigned to Uganda to preach the Mormon religion and convert its inhabitants; however, instead of a village filled with people fighting to be baptised, they are instead confronted with a disinterested and jaded population suffering from poverty, AIDS, and violent oppression from tyrant warlords. It preaches messages of community, understanding, and the power of faith, be it in a religion, in an idea, or in one’s self.

So, what else can you expect from a comedy-musical by the creators of South Park (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone)? Well, it’s a mixture of inappropriate, crass, ‘in-your-face’ comedy, surprisingly heart-warming relationships, and a you-will-have-tears-streaming-down-your-face hilarious script (including some slightly questionable scenes that walk a very fine line between being a bit of light fun and being somewhat politically incorrect). The choreography and ensemble cast are stellar. I mean it. These guys are talented. The two leads, Blake Bowden (Elder Price) and Nyk Bielak (Elder Cunningham) are also superbly cast; they can sing, they can act, they can dance, and they embody the characters magnificently. Altogether, it certainly lives up to the hype.

I went along to watch the show on opening night and was extremely impressed. Yes, this show may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d argue that it’s well worth a watch. When a musical of this calibre decides to drop in on little old Adelaide, it’s an opportunity you’d be foolish not to seize. Sometimes a night out at the theatre is all you need. Spending two hours united with an audience being captivated by the magic of the sets, score, and sheer talent of the actors will help transport you away from reality into something better, if only for a little while.

In a ploy to make musical theatre more accessible to audiences, The Book of Mormon is running an in-person ticket lottery for each performance, which means that for just $30 you can witness the show! I entered a few lotteries following this format when I was in New York last year, and in my experience, it’s absolutely worth it. Yes, you may have to stand around for a little while, and there’s every chance that your name won’t be drawn, but there’s also every chance it will. To try your hand, head over to the Festival Centre Box Office on the day of the performance you wish to see. Entries are accepted two and a half hours prior to each show; there is a limit of one entry per person, and each winner can choose whether they’d like to purchase one or two tickets. I’m unsure as to where the winning seats are located; however, past experience tells me that lottery winners are typically seated in the first two front rows: seats that are often worth upwards of $150! Grab a friend and give it a go!

The Book of Mormon is currently showing at the Adelaide Festival Centre until August 11.

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