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The Book of Mormon at Birmingham Hippodrome - Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Satire hit musical by South Park creators
It's been a long time coming but the multi-award-winning musical comedy has finally reached Birmingham, so does it live up to expectations?

Book of Mormon, birmingham Hippodrome, UK tour
The comedy adventures of the Mormons

The hugely successful Book of Mormon is at Birmingham Hippodrome from March 5 to 28 as part of its first tour across the UK.

Winner of at least 30 international awards including nine Tony Awards, the show has a lot to live up to, especially as there's some heavyweight comedy behind it - the creators of South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone), along with Bobby Lopez, co-writer of Avenue Q and Frozen.

It follows the misadventures of a mismatched pair of Mormon missionaries, sent from their home in Salt Lake City to convert villagers in Uganda.

There's top of the class Elder Price and misfit Elder Cunningham, both played beautifully by Robert Colvin and Conner Peirson, who seem well versed and confident in the roles.

Book of Mormon, birmingham Hippodrome, UK tour
Writers of South Park are behind this musical hit show

Their training leaves them hilariously out of their depth to cope with issues like a warlord and poverty, but could Elder Cunningham and his imaginative skills at lying save the day?

Jokes come thick and fast from the start and it's wickedly funny. The humour is close to the bone and edgy, taking the mickey out of many religions, not just Mormons, along with Disney and Starbucks to name a few.

It's a slick affair with exact dance routines and big song numbers amid a glossy set that moves from Salt Lake City to Africa.

Like South Park, it's frank on so many issues, from HIV to female mutilation and 'white saviours' of African problems, but there's also a lot of heart to the story and the friendships within it.

Book of Mormon, birmingham Hippodrome, UK tour
Plenty of laughs in this award-winning show

Disney gets an early pasting with Book of Mormon's reality check on The Lion King song Hakuna Mata with its own x-rated version, Hasa Diga Eebowai.

While Turn It Off is an old show tune style classic and gives the other Mormons a chance to shine in a song about repressed emotions and sexuality. Will Hawksworth as Elder McKinley is particularly good in this.

Then there is the hilarious running joke, which made me laugh the most, of how Elder Cunningham can't get African woman Nabalungi's name right, calling her a variety of alternatives from Nutrigena to Nicki Minaj.

Book of Mormon, birmingham Hippodrome, UK tour
The Mormons reach Africa in this comic tale

Every line has another joke in the completely mad plot that keeps moving at a furious pace.

Never did I imagine seeing Yoda, Hitler, Jesus and Star Trek's Lieutenant Uhura in the same show, but somehow it all makes sense, even the frogs.

Cleverly put together to create a stinging satire on the Mormons and the wider world, there's good reason why this exceptional show has become one of the most successful musicals of all time.

Hilarious, refreshing and very, very naughty, you won't be able to stop laughing.

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Why? See hilarious award-winning comedy musical
When: Until March 28, 2020
Phone: 0844 338 5000
Where: Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham
Cost: From 20
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