“The Book of Mormon” provides a bizarre but amusing experience, whether attendees “South Park” fans or not.
Written by the CU alumni creators of “South Park,” the musical plays on stereotypes, snarking on Mormons, Ugandan warlords and more. By the end of the performance, though, it’s obvious any group could be exchanged for the ones used in the musical.
“The Book of Mormon” leaves the audience with a good message – your beliefs relate to your own experience.
The musical, which has won nine Tony awards, follows two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and Elder Cunningham (A.J. Holmes), who are sent to Uganda on their mission. Elder Price, a self-absorbed overachiever who dreamed of going to Orlando for his mission, is horrified to find that the missionaries haven’t converted any of the Ugandans. His misunderstood partner Elder Cunningham, who hasn’t actually read the Book of Mormon, is just happy to have a companion and claims Elder Price as his best friend.
In Uganda, they meet Nabulungi (Syesha Mercado), the daughter of the man in charge of the village. Nabulungi is drawn to Mormonism because of the paradise that is Salt Lake City and convinces the other Ugandans to give the missionaries a chance.
In their quest to convert people to the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Cunningham rewrites the scripture Mormonism is based on, Price learns what a Ugandan warlord will do with a book of scripture and Ugandans actually choose to be baptized as Mormons.
Both Rouleau and Holmes deliver a convincing and enthralling performance. Rouleau makes it easy to love to hate Price with just the right amount of overconfidence, while Holmes ensures Cunningham is just awkward enough to make the audience love him. Meanwhile, Mercado charms with Nabulungi’s naivety and hits notes that make her time on “American Idol” seem inevitable.
From Price’s “Mormon hell dream” to the warlord’s obsession with circumcising women, “The Book of Mormon” pushes boundaries and creates an almost surreal experience. Between the explicit language, over-the-top dance numbers and never-ending snark, it’s hard not to find yourself grinning, even during uncomfortable moments.
“The Book of Mormon” runs through Nov. 24 at the Buell Theatre. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Ainslee Mac Naughton at Ainslee.firstname.lastname@example.org.