Saturday, April 23, 2011

REVIEW: The Book of Mormon (New York)

Eugene O'Neill Theatre (New York), Friday April 22

"Fuck you, God!" and "There's maggots in my scrotum", are few examples of lyrics found in the musical, The Book of Mormon. The musical set out to ridicule the Mormons and nothing about the Mormons was spared... not their decision not to drink coffee or to be generally nice to people. Unfortunately, the musical found that the only way to be funny on the subject was to be crude and the only way to be entertaining was to be outrageous. There is nothing subtle, sophisticated or witty about this musical, it was just a plain, vulgar, rude BUT funny (sometimes) parody.

In the stream of Jerry Springer, the Opera or Avenue Q, it talks about things that we may have thought of but dare not speak of them, or things we may found funny but dare not laugh about them aloud. The subject was perfect, but it was the writing (book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone) that let it down. The style would have been just enough or perfect for an hour show, but for two hours, then it became tedious. The obscenities became tiresome and the coyness became annoying.

The cast members squeezed the very last drop of laughter from each line. Josh Gad as the awkward lying Elder Cunningham has the perfect comedic timing and the less than perfect singing. Andrew Rannells as the boy wonder Elder Price was appropriately cute, with a funny blend of innocence and ignorance.

Casey Nicholaw, choreographer and co-director, infused the show with choreographies that were at times innovative and some other times redundant and amateurish. If you are the type that can seat through and enjoy (not physically but mentally) a two hour porn video, then this might be just the type of entertainment for you... no subtlety, no sophistication and no carefully crafted storyline, just plain enjoyable, much needed diversions.


The Book of Mormon
Opened in Broadway on March 24 2011
Book, Lyrics, Music by: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez

Creative Team:
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker (Direction)
Casey Nicholaw (Choreography)
Scott Pask (Set Design)
Ann Roth (Costume Design)
Brian MacDevitt (Lighting Design)
Brian Ronan (Sound Design)
Larry Hochman (Orchestrations)
Stephen Oremus (Music Supervision)

Cast Includes:
Josh Gad (Elder Cunningham)
Andrew Rannells (Elder Price)
Nikki M. James (Nabulungi)
Rory O'Malley (Elder McKinley)
Michael Potts (Mafala Hatimbi)

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