Rachel and Thomas Howells review the musical, The Book of Mormon which plays Wales Millennium Centre until October 30, 2021.
The Book of Mormon, the first musical to play Wales Millennium Centre in 18 months, certainly brings musical theatre back with a bang!
Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in collaboration with Robert Lopez, The Book of Mormon follows two Latter-day Saint missionaries as they attempt to preach the faith of the Church to the inhabitants of a remote Ugandan village. The young men are challenged by the local’s lack of interest, who are distracted by more pressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, famine, female genital mutilation, and oppression by the local warlord.
Laugh Out Loud Scenes And Topical Issues
Every scene is laugh out loud – an antidote to the difficult times we are living in.
Characters of certain groups are repeatedly depicted in stereotypical ways, such as the Mormons showing exaggerated happiness, however, this is solely to add comedic effect – and it’s very successful at doing so.
Contrasting well with the Mormons, the Africans, throughout the play, are often depicted as being more uncivilised: using violent language casually, being aggressive, mocking of the missionaries, believing differently and often repeating rituals including song and dance.
The musical openly discusses topical issues in the church such as homophobia, depicting how teachings can be wrong and how they continue to suppress who people are into adulthood. Another issue discussed was the holes in claims by Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, as they mention the golden plates and that he refused to prove their existence.
Energetic & Confident Characterisations in The Book of Mormon
Conner Peirson shines as Elder Cunningham who is depicted as an energetic character, overly happy and with a big imagination, even though he is proven to feel alone in the world.
Robert Colvin plays Elder Price with great pomp and straightness. A confident and strong character who will do what it takes to get what he wants – even if that means hurting others.
Stealing the show was Jordan Lee Davies with his interpretation of the over-the-top Elder McKinley. While he was on the stage, he always stole the limelight/attention.
Costumes were consistently unique with depictions of angels, devils, they had it all! With the Mormons’ matching uniforms and the Africans’ tattered clothing, you could really understand a character without them even moving.
The sound of the ensemble singing made the hairs stand on the back of my neck, it was so good to be back in a theatre experiencing a live performance.
Although not for the easily offended, we certainly found The Book of Mormon to be an uplifting experience, both musically and through comedic performance.
- The Book of Mormon continues at Wales Millennium Centre until October 30. Tickets available via Wales Millennium Centre website
- Photographs by Paul Coltas