BWW Review: Irreverent THE BOOK OF MORMON Still Big on Laughs, Slight in Shock Value
When THE BOOK OF MORMON opened on Broadway in 2011, it was called blasphemous, crude, raunchy, and genius. The brainchild of the creators of adult animated series "South Park," THE BOOK OF MORMON won nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical. This week it plays at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) for the second time.
Having now celebrated its seventh year on Broadway and two national tours, it's hard to tell whether THE BOOK OF MORMON has lost some of its shock value or if audiences are just more desensitized to it; nevertheless, it's still ridiculously funny and wildly entertaining.
THE BOOK OF MORMON is about two Mormon missionaries, who are sent to Uganda to spread the word of God. Knowing nothing about Africa, other than THE LION KING, they are totally unprepared for the harsh realities of this primitive village. But with the 'good book' in hand, they are determined to win over the villagers and maybe find themselves in the process.
The multitalented touring ensemble is led by Kevin Clay (Elder Price), Conner Peirson (Elder Cunningham), and Kayla Pecchioni (Nabulungi). Pecchioni is perfect as the wide-eyed, optimistic villager and straight 'man' of the production. But it is Peirson's performance, particularly that steals the show, striking the perfect balance between comedy and pathos.
Let's be clear, this isn't your typical missionary story. This is a musical comedy of biblical proportions chock full of pop culture references, metaphors, and not so subtle sexual innuendos (in true 'South Park' fashion). In fact, there is a Parental Advisory warning for language and content. But for those not easily offended and who are looking for an uproarious night out, THE BOOK OF MORMON is just the ticket.
THE BOOK OF MORMON runs through Sunday, August 12th, at the Durham Performing Arts Center. For more information visit:
Photo by Julieta Cervantes.