BWW Review: BOOK OF MORMON Brings Comical Irreverence to Birmingham
Since the 90's Trey Parker and Matt Stone have been creating comedy that rides the razor thin line between irreverent and tasteless. They have shaken up the establishment with South Park, Orgasmo, BASEketball and Team America: World Police. They are joined by Robert Lopez, the man behind the hilarious and irreverent Avenue Q. Back in 2011, this comedy trio created THE BOOK OF MORMON. It went on to sell out houses on Broadway and won Nine Tony awards. It is a wonderfully entertaining show with tons of laughs in the most unexpected of places.
At its core, THE BOOK OF MORMON is a typical buddy comedy/fish out of water scenario infused with powerhouse song and dance. Added to the mix is a heavy, heavy dose of R rated flavors and an unapologetic irreverence. By NO means is this a religious play or one for the kids. The play opens on newly graduated young Mormon missionaries are being given their assignments. Too much dismay the bright eyed, idealistic Elder Price (Gabe Gibbs) is not assigned to Orlando as he had prayed for, but he is being sent to Uganda. Making matters worse, his companion for the mission is awkwardly goofy and overly imaginative Elder Cunningham (Conner Pierson). Arriving in Uganda they are befriended by Mafala (Sterling Jarvis), his angelic daughter Nabulungi (Kim Exum) and the villagers who are a kaleidoscope of outrageous characters. The laughs from the villagers are found in the characters themselves, not their skin color. This is a noticeable strength in the writing and direction by Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker; it is comical without being racist. The duo meet the other young missionaries in the village, who have been unsuccessful in baptizing even one of the villagers. Conflict arrives when the local warlord General (Oge Aguluè) comes to threaten the Village. Young Price and Cunningham soon find themselves on a journey discovering who they are in the big Mormon plan of salvation.
The Book Mormon is a high energy musical that successfully pulls off a fusion of classic Broadway elements mixed with highly inappropriate language and subject matter. Parker, Stone and Lopez are no strangers to pushing the envelope and poking fun at people fighting insecurities, lack of acceptance and pop culture references. The music and dances have nods to everything from Sound of Music, Spamalot, Godspell, Lion King, and Dante's Inferno. Poking a finger into the eye of Mormonism is consistently bringing tears of laughter. The musical exposes the ridiculous nature of Americans to impose our ways on the rest of the world.
Gabe Gibbs gives Elder Price a strong voice with the heart of the "All-American" boy next door. Conner Pierson brings an explosive comic delivery of the oddball Elder Cunningham. Kim Exum as Nabulungi is innocently sweet and full of optimism. Both she and Gibbs are coming directly from the Broadway company. The whole cast is a strong bunch of performers who put their best into play. Choreographer Casey Nicholaw put together some slick dance and tap numbers that are a show highlight.Performances of note go to PJ Adzima as the strained closeted Elder McKinley, Ron Bohmer brings comedy gold to his handful of stand out roles. Sterling Jarvis gives wonderful range to the nurturing father Mafala.
The show is a treat for the eyes, mind and body. THE BOOK OF MORMON will forever change the way you react after hearing a doorbell ring.
The BJCC Concert Hall and Theatreleague
THE BOOK OF MORMON
Tuesday, October 10, 2017: 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017: 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, October 12, 2017: 7:30 p.m.
Friday, October 13, 2017: 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 14, 2017: 2 p.m.
Saturday, October 14, 2017: 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 15, 2017: 1 p.m.
Sunday, October 15, 2017: 6:30 p.m.
Tickets at ticketmaster.com
BJCC Concert Hall
2100 Richard Arrington Jr Blvd N
Birmingham, AL 35203
*** THE BOOK OF MORMON is recommended for mature audiences only. Contains explicit language and situations.***