FINALLY. The Book of Mormon, thanks to Covid restrictions, has fought harder to come down to Glasgow than the current Prime Minister has to avoid undeniable duncery charges.
But at least the B of M – the global hit show from South Park creators Matt Stone, Robert Lopez and Trey Parker – won,
Still, you might be wondering, who would want to see a musical with a storyline that examines the beliefs and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
Mormonism, to most people, is the idea of young men in matching suits knocking softly on your door and not getting upset when that same door is slammed in their face.
Mormonism is a Donny and Mary tithing religion that has beautiful modern churches in Scotland populated by people who will tell you they like your outfit, even if the clothes you wear are the first thing that came to you after that drug . sleepless night.
But does it offer a premise for a musical theatre?
Well, its creators are masters of satire. And the show features a number of swear words and hard-hitting humor.
Yet, of course, this show wouldn’t have been so successful if it had simply taken a chainsaw to the head which is the Mormon belief system and buried it in a shallow grave.
What writers do cleverly is hold under scrutiny the originality of religion: the relentless kindness of its elders who roam the world, gossiping at doorsteps and hoping to convert people with fearless amiability.
“We grew up with Mormons, and their MO is to beat you up by being kinder than you and higher than you,” Parker explains.
The storyline follows two Mormon salesmen, the very nervous Brother Price and the stupid and lying Brother Cunningham, who are sent to convert Uganda.
And so, we have a grand narrative, a journey blocked by defiance, disbelief and dismay.
How can you make African villagers believe that this American wealth machine can work in a world where people are struggling to feed themselves? How can you knock on acacia doors?
The writers make the most of this impossible task, and without giving too much away, we see Price and Cunningham selling their religion via AIDS cures, which involves having sex with amphibians. Yes. Frankly.
It’s mean. It is sometimes outrageous. He has great songs. Yet this does not mock God at all. Indeed, the 15 million Mormons in Utah are said to be “more or less supportive of the idea of the show”, in fact taking up ad space in many show schedules.
“It reveals that we are Christians, not a cult,” said one former leader, who (very quietly) backs the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Tremendous. So we can all thank god for all the theatrics that the Book of Mormon is now about to open in Glasgow.
Now let’s pray for political deliverance.
The Book of Mormon, The Theater Royal, Glasgow, November 9-26.
Don’t Miss: Escape. Escape to an island paradise and let your mind wander to the blue surf in the wartime love story – backed by music from Rodgers and Hammerstein – that is South Pacific, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, from 25 to October 29.
HOW can you not be intrigued by the wonderful phrase: “Welcome to The Bunker. The apocalypse is coming, and it’s coming for you bitch!” That’s the marketing pitch for The Time Machine: A Radical Feminist Retelling. But will HG Wells turn in his grave?
A group of feminists contemplate impending doom but wonder if it’s too late to change things. Meanwhile, a traveler lands in the year 802,701 to find out the fate of future humans and tries to figure out how he got there.
Wells wrote the 1895 classic, in which a Victorian gentleman leaps forward to find that humanity has evolved into a two-tiered society with the privileged Eloi class at the top, and the Morlocks below – doomed to subsist in darkness. It was a premonitory allegory.
Now, Melanie Jordan and Caitlin Skinner of feminist theater company Jordan and Skinner have taken the story and reframed it as a story of women’s struggle for survival. “HG Wells was trying to comment on capitalism,” Jordan says. “He was saying, ‘Look at everyone – if we keep going, we’re going to have this split’ and warning his fellow early capitalists. He was responding to his current situation, and we are responding to ours. Victorians were striving in the name of progress, which at the time was a very cool thing. We now know that industrial progress has burned the planet. We need to change what progress means without discarding everything that has already happened.
Can a feminist utopian future emerge? Skinner adds, “The characters try to balance their feelings of doom and despair with hope and agency in their ability to turn things around.” It’s more than likely that HG will applaud both the sentiment and content of this hugely imaginative piece, featuring a cast of four.
The Tron Theatre, Glasgow, October 26-28