The Book of Mormon, The Prince of Wales Theatre

Occasionally I’m left speechless by a performance. This is not the case with this show. In fact it is completely the opposite to how I’m feeling. It’s been two days now and I still can’t stop the occasional laugh that brews up within me when I think back to Tuesday night’s hilarious performance.

It was utterly fantastic.

I can’t explain to you how much I enjoyed this show, but heck I’m going to try. Here’s hoping the Latter Day Saints help me out a bit.

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The Prince of Wales Theatre is a stone’s throw away from Leicester Square as well as lovely restaurant Muriel’s Kitchen, which is a great place to stop off before the show. Check out my blog on it. It’s also opposite The Comedy Club, which I hope to check out soon!

The Book of Mormon is an ingenious production brought to us by the creators of South Park; Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. It’s a musical religious satire piece that features two newly graduated Mormon missionaries, one, Elder Price whom believes his calling is in the magical place of Orlando and the other, Elder Cunningham who is a compulsive liar. A fantastic mix, which results in them being dispatched to a remote village in Uganda which is being terrorised by the exceedingly frightening General Butt-Fucking-Naked. A truly despicable human being who wears some wonderful cowboys boots alongside two lots of machine gun bullets wrapped around his upper half. Robbed by the General and made fun of by the locals the two missionaries meet the other missionaries who explain the with the wonderful help of Elder McKinley that they need to: “squash,” their feelings. The song Turn It Off is fabulous display of singing skill, humorous acting, in beat tap dancing, and some very pink waistcoats.

As Elder Price makes it his mission to leave, he is caught in a spooky Mormon hell dream featuring Hitler, Genghis Khan, Jeffery Dahmer and Johnnie Cochran as well as some rather fantastic devil onesies. When he wakes he realises that he cannot leave his companion, Rule 72, and he rushes back to try and help Elder Cunningham. Only to discover Elder Cunningham has, through the medium of imagination, help from the Hobbits and compulsive lying baptised all the villagers without Price and is now the hotshot of the Mormon missionaries.

As the Mormon President comes to celebrate the villagers being baptised all the truth comes out, through a very entertaining reenactment of the Mormon history with Elder Cunningham’s very interesting embellishments. Of course, the realisation that it was all a lie leaves the Ugandan missionaries ex-communicated from the Mormon church, and pretty stuck in the mud. Until they realise the they don’t need the Mormons, they just need each other. As with traditional soppy ending theatre performances it all ends happily, but with this musical it also ends with you laughing your socks off, and tears falling in a good way.

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There are three cast members in particular who are just fantastic in their roles. Of course two of them are the main characters.

Nic Rouleau as Elder Price is simply the best arrogant Mormon ever. He has the facial expressions that just make you cripple with laughter, and a voice that is utterly awesome.

Brian Sears as Elder Cunningham, just thinking about him makes me laugh. There is so much political incorrectness with this character but it’s not offensive, it hugely funny and Brian is just one of kind in this role. The specialness of him is magic.

Stephen Ashfield as Elder McKinley, without a doubt is my favourite. I can’t get enough of his suppression of his feelings for men, whilst simultaneously being the campiest and most feminine character. He’s entertainment factor is stunning.

Another mention should go to Gabrielle Brooks who was Nabulungi in the performance I went to see, her voice is smooth like silk and she has a wonderful range although sometimes I felt that she wasn’t completely comfortable in the role BUT and it is a big but that was only every now and then. As an understudy she was still incredible, and secretly I hope she gets more chance to play this role so she can come into her own more and more.

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GO AND SEE THIS NOW! I’ve helpful attached the website here, so you can go and book your tickets.

For more information on The Prince of Wales Theatre click here.

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Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands

IMG_0186This blog is about a week late but I’ve been so busy driving up and down the country it has literally come as soon as I could. I think the fact that I’m still so inclined to write this blog really shows how much I feel for Matthew Bourne’s stunning choreographically beautiful interpretation of TIm Burton’s Edward Scissorhands.

Although this performance was utterly breathtaking I will acknowledge that after the first act I was a tad disappointed. I’ve been thinking about how to explain this disappointment and I think finally, after this week of contemplation and reflection it was because it was odd. I’ve seen the film and I know the story so maybe that’s the problem, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t feel connected to any of the principal dancers during that first half. I’m not one to dwell on something and I would never leave a performance half way through but from eavesdropping at the bar it did seem a running theme with some of the older audience members as well.The first half wasn’t what I expected however, I have to bear in mind that generally I had the same thought on my last views of Bourne’s interpretations of Sleeping Beauty and also, in sense with his Swan Lake.

BUT, and this is massive but hence the capitals, I would urge anyone who believes in the beauty of ballet but also who has open-mindedness towards ballet mixed with modern dance or who just enjoys a good show to go and watch this performance at Sadler’s Wells. The first half yes I was a bit umm and ahhh but the second half is where the magic of Bourne truly lies.

The second half was unbelievable.

The choreography was just so unique and was so well put together with each member of the company performing the intricate patterns they made with not only their feet but arms as well perfectly. I don’t give standing ovations often. But hold on when I tell you the second half took you on an emotional journey of sweet little Edward Scissorhands. I’m not going to ruin the story for those of you who have never seen the film starring Johnny Depp but emotions that this ballet brought out of so many people was incredible. The man behind me who had been dragged there by his girlfriend stopped kicking my seat and leant forward, and the women in front stopped talking.

Matthew Bourne produced a piece of genius with this production. The first half is a teaser for what comes next and that to me appeared to be the ultimate combination of dance and acting skills. The principal dancers had facial expressions I had never on ballet dancer before. There was fear, jealousy, love and hate and it was all portrayed by these talented people and absorbed so fully by the people watching.

I don’t like to mention outstanding cast members usually, maybe because I feel that it takes a company to put on a show but, oh my. Edward (danced by Liam Mower) was a truly terrific. He just had the perfect amount of naivety mixed in with he dance moves. He was funny and sweet and if he’d been a real life boy would probably be the perfect somewhat half dead man for me.

Brilliantly most of the music, although there was some different pieces was recognisable from the film as Danny Elfman’s. Putting that touch in really made this piece seem as though Bourne wasn’t trying to outdo the film but instead work with it to provide a different kind of Edward Scissorhands.

On a somewhat note, I saw this with my dad and although he’s as lovely as they come in my 22 years of seeing ballet after ballet with him I have never seen him give a standing ovation. But he was up first. Now that, that is really saying something.

Tim Burton, it’s time for you to eat your heart out.

Edward Scissorhands is on at Sadler’s Wells until January 11th. For tickets click here.

To purchase Tim Burton’s film click here.

Here is the cast list on the day we saw this amazing piece of dance:

Edward – Liam Mower

Peg Boggs/Old Kim – Etta Murfitt

Bill Boggs – Jack Jones

Kim Boggs – Katy Lowenhoff

Kevin Boggs/Young Edward – Alex Sturman

Charity Upton – Mikah Smillie

Major Franklyn Upton III/Reverend – Gareth Charlton

Darlene Upton – Nicole Kabera

James Upton – Tim Hodges

Tiffany Covitt – Daisy May Kemp

Brad Covitt  – Edwin Ray

Candy Covitt – Katie Webb

Chase Covitt – Leon Moran

Joyce Monroe – Saranne Curtin

George Monroe – Daniel Collins

Bunny Monroe – Bethany Pike

Gerald Monroe – Harry Francis

Esmeralda Evercreech – Katelyn Severn

Reverend Judas Evercreech – Dominic Lamb

Marilyn-Ann Evercreech – Mari Kamata

Gabriel Evercreech – Tom Clark

Gloria Grubb – Stephanie Elstob

Manny Grubb – Chris Neumann

Sandra Grubb – Cindy Ciunfrini

Sheldon Grubb – Gavin Persand

Conductor – Benjamin Pope