Critics divided over The Book of Mormon
Compiled by Jack Foley
CRITICS have found themselves divided over the merits of The Book of Mormon now that it has had received its West End premiere.
The Tony-winning musical from the creators of South Park lampoons religion and musicals while telling the story of two Mormons, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, as they are sent to Africa to convert the natives.
Leading the plaudits was The Independent’s Paul Taylor, who wrote: “The show thwacks together a caricature-tendentious view of modern Mormon masculinity with a calculatedly outrageous Lion King-skewed view of Africa.”
He concluded by saying that he “absolutely loved it”.
The Evening Standard, meanwhile, called it “spirited and refreshing”.
Henry Hitchings wrote: ““It is rich in absurdity and ecstatic weirdness – and has been imbued by [its] co-directors… with athletic zing, precisely delivered by a cast that includes sharp supporting turns from Giles Terera, Alexia Khadime and Chris Jarman.”
The Standard awarded the production four stars.
Time Out also gushed, awarding it four stars and writing: “Trey Parker and Matt Stone are not West End messiahs. But they are very naughty boys, and it’s hard not to love their smash musical.”
But less impressed was The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer, who said: “While acknowledging that it is often damnably clever and sharp, I find it hard to warm to the show.”
He felt that Mormons were a soft target, a view shared by several colleagues.
And The Guardian’s Michael Billington found the musical “mildly amusing”, awarding it three stars.
He wrote: “I had a perfectly pleasant time, but the idea that the show… is either daringly offensive or a Broadway breakthrough is pure codswallop. For all its rude words, this is essentially a safe, conservative show for middle America.
“I should add that the show is efficiently directed by Nicholaw and Parker, and offers a perfectly decent night out. What it lacks, though, is the courage of its own convictions.”
The Bok of Mormon has recently extended its booking period at the Prince of Wales Theatre until January 11, 2014.