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At lunchtime, I was reading Alain de Botton‘s stimulating ‘Religion for Atheists’, and cerebrally considering matters of faith over Schezwan chicken. By the evening, those same matters of faith were exploding in a riot of song, ridicule, dance, parody, music, filth and colour in front of my eyes. No, it wasn’t Catholic Mass, The Book of Mormon has arrived. And dear God, it’s good – or rather, ‘fuck you God’, it’s good. With the sweeping strokes of satire and the broad palette of a cartoon, it ravages its subject like a vicious Rottweiler, but somehow, miraculously, retains a tender heart. It parodies the absurdities of musical theatre and yet it loves every note. It offers us two annoying, misguided, self-centred idiots as heroes, but ensures we care profoundly about their every action. And it viciously rips apart each facet of organised religion and we laugh along at every brutal swipe, yet when Kevin Price fervently implores us to ‘believe’, we really, really want to and cheer the depth of his conviction. The show is Broadway-slick and has the precision and broadness of animation, not least in big-haired Gavin Creel‘s angular, physical performance where every thought and word seems to ripple out to every sinew of his body. Jared Gertner, the other American in the cast, surprises us with both his tenderness and his rockin’ transformation from Elder zero to Mormon hero. Alexia Khadime and Giles Terera‘s father and daughter are the truthful heart of the story and provide the bedrock for all the craziness around them. And Stephen Ashfield is just a big gay riot. We’re a little dazed at the end, did that all really happen? Did we see Jesus’ skirt light up? Did we see a Ugandan get shot in the face? Did we see a frog get fucked and Hitler get a blowjob? It’s challenging and shocking, it’s funny and clever and we all went crazy fucking nuts at the end. Oh, I believe.

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