I still remember staying up till midnight to watch South Park. This was quite the task and I always got told off for this, but this was 1997, I was 11 years old and not supposed to be watching this show. Thus my love affair with all things Matt and Trey had begun. The comedy was so outrageous and insane, still to this day that show will make me laugh, especially with its ability to stay current. Then came Baseketball and Team America World Police, both films had me crying in laughter, probably one of the greatest feelings possible. Also, let’s not forget the South Park Movie, which I ironically snuck into, oddly paralleling the beginning of the film. It took me years to realise why I loved their comedy so well and it came down to two facts –
1 – As crazy and insane as their stories are, they always have a moral to them
2 – I was a closeted fan of musicals
Matt and Trey have this annoying habit of sneaking extremely catchy musical numbers into their material. Trey, a self-confessed musical lover, admitted this was all done on purpose. Even their original film was a musical (Cannibal the Musical),thus, it was only logical that they, Trey and Matt, would attempt to create their own Broadway musical (yes I am well aware that in my mind creating a Broadway musical is logical). Thus I come to you with my thoughts on The Book of Mormon.
Teaming up with Robert Lopez (Co Composer and Co Lyricist from Avenue Q), this comedy dream team have produced one of the, if not the funniest, musicals ever created. This satirical story tells the adventure of a mismatched pair of Mormon’s send to Uganda. The play follows the trials of Elder Kevin Price and Elder Arnold Cunningham’s attempts to make a people who are ravaged by war, aids, famine, rape and mutilation, care about the sacred Mormon text.
Yes the show does poke fun at some of the Mormon’s more out there beliefs such as –
The president of the church speaks directly with God
Jesus came to America
The story of the Golden Plates
God having his own Planet
I’m sure a lot of people reading this are laughing at these thoughts, or rolling your eyes but, really, who are we to judge? The musical portrays this in a very interesting way. Using the song ‘I Believe’ it represents so perfectly that; no matter what a Mormon just believes, no matter the condemnation they receive. It also transpires that the moral of this musical; ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as it’s something good and you believe in it’,is also the theme that was used in the south park episode All About Mormons.
As with this particular creative team, pulling information from all things culture and pop-culture must be done. So it’s not just the Mormons who are being made fun of here. Former Liberian warlord General Butt Naked is parodied as General Butt F*cking Naked, whilst Darth Vader, the Hobbits and Yoda all manage to make appearances. Jeffrey Dahmer, Hitler, Genghis Khan and Johnnie Cochran (who has been parodied in the past by South Park) also take part in one musical number.
With some very catchy tunes that invoke memories of other Broadway classics, for instance You And Me (But Mostly Me)”, and also uses very similar chord progressions to “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Many musical fans will also be reminded of the classics such as West Side Story, the Lion King (to which there are numerous reference’s) and the King and I, among others. Not only that but one or two of the songs hearken me back to some of their earlier work such as elementary school musical.
This is one that made me laugh and made me think, I am really glad I had the chance to see it and hope everyone that see’s this can take away the knowledge that religion can be a good thing and having belief in something doesn’t make you stupid. BTW if you don’t laugh at this then you may be dead inside.