Heads Up: The Book of Mormon
Singing and swearing: from South Park to the West End
What are we talking about? The Tony- and Grammy-winning satirical musical, following a pair of good American Mormon men who go on a mission to Uganda to try to convert the natives, arrives in London.
Elevator pitch Worth making a song and dance about: book now for the blasphemously Good Book.
Prime movers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park and Team America: World Police, put their talent with comic expletives to good use, while Robert Lopez, the man responsible for Avenue Q – another successful US-to-UK transfer – brings musical expertise.
The stars A large cast is led by American actors Jared Gertner and Gavin Creel (who has graced the West End before, in Hair and Mary Poppins), who play the Mormon brothers.
The Early Buzz Practically religious levels of adoration. It was massive on Broadway; Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times that it "achieves something like a miracle. It both makes fun of and ardently embraces the all-American art form of the inspirational book musical. No Broadway show has so successfully had it both ways since Mel Brooks adapted his film The Producers for the stage." Steven Suskin in Variety agreed: "every song enhances the hilarity, expert staging heightens every gag, and the cast of fresh faces is blissfully good. Broadway hasn't seen anything like it since Mel Brooks came to town with The Producers, only Mormon has better songs." Jon Stewart on The Daily Show famously even went so far as to call it "so good it makes me fucking angry".
Insider knowledge It's a labour of love for the South Park duo, who are so hands-on they're moving to London with their families for the show's run.
It's great that… The Book of Mormon doesn't show any sign of them taming their material: expect Aids gags, Satan giving Hitler a blow job, and people singing "Fuck you, God, in the ass, mouth and cunt!". And, somehow, they still come across as generous-hearted towards religion.
It's a shame that… many of the jokes may go over our British heads, being less familiar with Mormonism than the average American audience.
Hit potential Already selling out and, given how effusive the British critics who reviewed the Broadway show were, likely to be a critical smash, too.
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