The Book of Mormon is a nine Tony and one Grammy Award-winning musical by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who are well known for being the creators of the controversial show South Park, and Robert Lopez of Avenue Q who co-wrote and co-composed. The story is about two young Mormon missionaries off to their first mission ever. The first is Elder Kevin Price. Handsome and ambitious, he is positive he can be the best gosh darn missionary they’ve ever seen! While his partner Elder Arnold Cunningham, a not so handsome compulsive liar who has never actually read the book of Mormon, has lesser ambitions, he just wants a friend.
After completing their training the unusual pair are sent to a small village in Uganda. There, a brutal warlord is bullying the population, including mutilating women. Finally they meet their fellow Mormon missionaries who teach them an important lesson about suppressing feelings.Refreshed, the two naive and optimistic missionaries go off to get more Mormons for Jesus. However, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham ave a lot of trouble both connecting and converting the locals. Not only have the villagers heard it all before from other religions missionaries, they are far more worried about AIDS, famine, poverty, and war than what God thinks of them.
When I first heard of this musical I was a bit apprehensive. Religious satire is a tricky thing to pull off without outright offending people. It is especially tricky when the creators of said satire are not of the religion. However, The Book of Mormon not only lampoons the Mormon religion, but organized religion itself. For satire, it treats Mormonism with some respect, telling the truth about the church teachings. They show the people in this religion tend to be nice and clean cut people, but perhaps a bit too naïve and trusting.
However, this is the South Park and Avenue Q crew, so the musical has its share of naughty language—mostly shouted by the Ugandan people due to their crappy lot in life. I found the show very funny, what surprised me was how candid they were about the problems Uganda and many of the other countries in Africa have. This is especially shown in the song “Hasa Diga Eebowai.” I won’t tell you what it means because it’s far more fun to find out yourself, just be careful where you sing it.
This was a very good musical, it was clever, very funny, and the music was great. However, if you are easily offended, especially by swear words, you may not enjoy it. Those of you who really like South Park and Team America: World Police will especially enjoy this musical. Go and see it before it says goodbye!
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