This past weekend, I spent a few hours with Elders Price and Cunningham enjoying The Book of Mormon. I was a little worried on the way to the Centennial Concert Hall- I was feeling rather under the weather, and my temperature was swinging all over the place. I waited for the cold and flu medication to kick in, and grabbed a 7-Up to nurse during the show. This particular production of The Book of Mormon is a touring company from Broadway Across Canada, meaning that there wasn’t a whole lot of anything in the lobby. I love being able to see something of the show beforehand and was unsure of what this would mean for the show…
Thankfully, my worries were wrong! The show was absolutely fantastic, as you would expect of The Book of Mormon. Although the Concert Hall has a slightly smaller stage than some other venues, the set filled it completely- from the LDS training centre in Provo to the village in Uganda. The set was detailed and lacked absolutely nothing! While I know that some musicals and plays will often use minimal sets in order to emphasise the actors and the writing, the set is a whole other character in the BoM. Touring companies will often cut down on cast and sets to save money, but I am happy to say this wasn’t the case! If you aren’t acquainted with the Mormon church at all, you might not have noticed Moroni at the apex of the temple, but from the first moment you step foot in the theatre, the set grabs you and the angel watches…
The casting was wonderful- Zach Hess as Elder Price and Cody Jamison Strand as Elder Cunningham could not have been more entertaining, and the supporting cast also stole the show several times. If you have ever wanted to see dancing Starbucks cups tempting someone in hell, this is your chance! And if you want to see a group of Ugandans act out the founding of the Mormon church with gold dinner plates, this will still be your chance! I have to say, one of my favourite scenes is when the group of Elders in the district welcome Price and Cunningham with a pink sequin vested tap number- tap doesn’t often get the praise it deserves, but those dancing Mormon missionaries brought it to life! Also, as someone who has seen a lot of Mormons in the promise-land of Salt Lake City, I can say that they really are this perky and naïve. This cast really delivered. “Hello!” is still my favourite song from musical- it sums up the entire musical in one happy song 🙂 Enjoy!
If you haven’t heard it yet, I would recommend listening to the soundtrack on YouTube. It’s a ton of fun, and will brighten your day, without a doubt. “Making Things Up” is almost as entertaining as “Hello!”.
As much as I wanted to get a small souvenir from the show, these were the most expensive prices that I’ve seen from any show- including Wicked in London… $15 for a keychain and $20 for a coffee mug are a little ridiculous. I can’t explain why there is a plush frog without spoiling the show, but $35 CAD for a plush frog??? Come on, BoM, you are better than that. I suppose people are willing to pay that, though; there were more than enough people lined up to buy a $45 tshirt and $40 boxers…. I did enjoy that it was referred to as “The Mission Shop”! A lot of productions simply through up a basic booth, but this is perfectly tied into the show.
The high souvenir prices was literally the only issue I took with the entire production, and given that it doesn’t actually affect the show in any way, I have to recommend this to anyone who has the chance to see it! I think that a lot of people skip the theatre because they think it will be too high-brow or out of their reach, and that it will simply be boring. However, The Book of Mormon is an incredibly intelligent but accessible musical that continues to draw sold out crowds, countless laughs, and standing ovations for a reason- it is fun. Sure, if you are a member of the LDS church, you probably aren’t a huge fan. But to someone on the outside, it brings logic and humour to a complicated and odd topic! (Thanks, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame!)
Have you seen The Book of Mormon? What were your thoughts?