The Book of Mormon is back for a second run at the Ed Mirvish theatre and it’s as fast paced and entertaining as ever. The musical comedy originally opened eight years ago and was awarded with accolades, multiple Tony awards and a Grammy. Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame as well as Robert Lopez who also co-created Avenue Q, the show has the same type of edgy, pushing the envelope humour that these men are known for.
The story centers around two Mormon missionaries who are assigned to bring the word of God to a small village in Uganda. Uganda isn’t too receptive to this and are more concerned about a menacing warlord that frequents the area as well as famine, poverty and the AIDS epidemic which has struck their area. One of the missionaries decides to bend the truth about what The Book of Mormon actually says and suddenly there is a tidal wave of new converts, much to the joy of the church and the fellow missionaries. Of course, the lies are eventually unearthed, and all hell breaks loose.
The musical does poke fun at the Mormon religion but at its core the story is about devotion and how these young men are trying to do good in the world. There is a surprisingly sweet underbelly to it all. It’s a good thing because some of the humour is wildly inappropriate. I somehow found it much more jarring seeing the show this time around.
The ensemble cast is uniformly good. I particularly enjoyed the work of the two principal characters, Elder Price the golden child perfectionist played by Liam Tobin and the oddball Elder Cunningham played by Jordan Matthew Brown. The two play the paired missionaries and have great chemistry. Tobin has a strong vocal presence and it’s fun to watch Brown play the awkward outcast who has a penchant for lying.
Scott Pask’s scenic design effectively creates the pristine look of Salt Lake City with blue skies and a massive heavenly looking gate which is followed by a rather broken down, dilapidated African village.
The show is very enjoyable and with an upbeat score and toe tappingly good songs. There are songs that stick in your head like Hello and I Believe and there are lots of laughs even though some of the humour is definitely cringe-worthy. If you didn’t get a chance to see this gem of a musical the first time around, don’t miss it now.
The Book of Mormon returns to Toronto for a limited engagement June 11 – 23, 2019 at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. Tickets available by visiting www.mirvish.com or by phone 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333.