REVIEW: Stage musical a baptism by comedy fire
THE most divisive stage musical of all time, Book of Mormon, is back in Queensland by popular demand.
Playing to a packed opening-night crowd at the Lyric Theatre last night, the Broadway hit is back at QPAC for an encore season after tickets to last year's six-week run got snapped up.
Well-matched leads Blake Bowden and Nyk Bielak are just as good the second time around as freshly-minted Mormon missionaries Elder Price and Elder Cunningham - who get sent to the less than desirable location of Uganda for their two-year mission to bring new members into the church.
Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Southpark) walk a fine line of finding the humour in the quirks of the faith while still celebrating the noble, albeit naive, intentions of the missionaries.
Even if the subject of religion isn't a touchy one for you, the show is still steeped in the dark and crude nature of Parker and Stone's particular brand of satire.
Things start off polite enough with the catchy opening number Hello!, but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security that this story will be a pleasant or predictable one.
As soon as Elders Price and Cunningham arrive in Africa, their training and the PC rule book go out the window.
From giving God the finger in Hasa Diga Eebowai to suppressing sinful thoughts in Turn It Off and succumbing to guilt in Spooky Mormon Hell Dream, The Book of Mormon elicits gasps and laughs in equal measure.
But look beyond the shock value and you'll find a thought-provoking exploration of faith, friendship and service.
Catch it while you can.
The Book of Mormon plays a strictly limited season at QPAC through February 14.