MUSICAL REVIEW: Book of Momon ★★★★
Book of Mormon
Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Prince of Wales Theatre, London
It’s very rare nowadays to experience a production having known nothing about it prior, because even though the exact same week that I am viewing Book of Mormon is the 4th year anniversary of the show in London and 6th year in Broadway, and also the fact that I like the facebook page, apart from the odd snippet of music I hear every now and then, I knew nothing about the story, the characters, or heard a full song the whole way through. When the production first came to London, the ticket pricing was extortionate, almost estimating at £200 for a top price ticket, so entering it’s fourth year in London, and at a reasonable price of £40, I finally decided I would enter into the unknown, still completely unaware as to what I was about to experience, and what a decision I made, because for the first time in a long time with a world renowned production, I sat back to laugh and cry to a brilliant production without having any prior judgement.
I really felt passion and commitment from not only the characters side of views and beliefs, but also the determination of the actors on stage giving everything to entertain the audience. Watching a matinee of a production, there are thoughts that the actors would not give as much energy to some pieces of the production to save it for an evenings performance, but judging by what I saw on stage that afternoon, everyone showed extensive commitment to their performances and it was a complete joy to watch the action unfold with these performers on stage. The chemistry between KJ Hippensteel and Cody Jamison Strand as Elder Price and Elder Cunningham though really was the highlight of this whole production. As veterans to their roles following Broadway and US tours of the same characters, they ease into their roles so fluidly and can tell instantly how close they must be behind the production to create such a genuine, loving connection on stage.
The ensemble in this performance were also incredible and made me laugh so much at so many moments throughout, especially in the song ‘Turn It Off’, which is a perfect song about suppressing certain feelings we may encounter from sad or anxious situations, and as I had never heard the song before, it gave me a real chance to experience it for the first time which allowed me to smile and laugh uncontrollably at times. Steven Webb portrayed Elder McKinley in this performance and who sings the majority of this song in the show, who really made this character shine not only in this number but also throughout the whole show, whether that was as a solo performer or in a big ensemble piece.
Overall, the sensation from seeing this production for the first time from almost no research really heightened what was an incredible experience at the theatre, and will now encourage me to do the same with future productions to really enjoy the production without reading articles or reviews prior to the performance!