Mitt Romney’s candidacy last year for the presidency of the United States made briefly topical (here) the belief system that is the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. Now (here!) we have the Broadway show which pokes a spear into the side of this – to UK eyes – slightly odd branch of Christianity, a cult based on the notion that there is a whole third testament that somehow got left out of the Bible, thereby wilfully concealing the role that North America played in the Bible story. The show opens here this week, and I was very pleased to get a ticket to the very first performance in front of a London audience – the first full dress rehearsal for the hottest musical of the year.
It is funny, sharp, amazingly energetically danced and sung and glitch-free – apart from one dancer’s hat falling off. It’s certainly not a show for sensitive souls, for anyone from a certain African country that might be feeling a bit sensitive, or those who think it’s wrong to take the mickey out of organised religion and its more gullible adherents, or to treat Christianity with none of the circumspection afforded to Islam. If you think female genital mutilation is no laughing matter, you too had better brace yourself.
I was uneasy at some of the big laughs at things that are, in the cold light of day, just not funny. I’d rather one or two lines were rewritten to be clever or witty instead of shocking. I know it’s harder to be witty! But I laughed too, even if I sometimes wondered at myself for doing so. (Did they just say that, really?) But it’s a good show, a wonderful send up of the musical genre and the USA. If you like The Producers you will overcome your doubts about some of the laughs and be swept along by the sheer energy and fun. And those Mormon boy-elders sure look pretty…if you like that kind of thing!