REVIEW: The Book of Mormon

I have a confession. I don’t like any animated comedy TV series. Family Guy, Simpsons, American Dad, Futurama and even South Park. I’m not just talking an “I don’t find them funny” kind of dislike; oh no. I’m talking full scale them actually being on in the background borderline angers me kind of dislike. So why on earth would I go to a musical created by the same people behind such TV shows I hear you cry. Well, it was the top of Tom’s list and recently his birthday so I decided to put my personal opinion aside and get him tickets. Also part of me was curious. I mean with nine Tony Awards and a Grammy I couldn’t possibly hate it could I?

The Theatre

The Prince of Wales Theatre in the heart of Leicester Square is the BoM’s home. A Mackintosh theatre it has multiple bars with a surprising amount of room as far as theatre’s go. I’m also a big fan of the fact that like many of the London theatres they serve Yorkshire crisps and popcorn #represent. We had dress circle tickets and I have to say the gradient of the rake was quite impressive. It certainly helps make the theatre feel intimate and you can pretty much guarantee a decent view right from the back. Added bonus that you don’t have to be concerned about someone tall sitting in front and as a shortie this is a regular concern for me.

The view from our ‘Row E’ seats

The Music

I don’t know where to start. I went in to this pretty much blind. I’d only ever heard the opening song “Hello” and that was from a video from Facebook a few weeks before my theatre visit. Needless to say that one video was enough for it to be on repeat in my head EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But “Hello” is only one of the many incredible songs in this show. It has a remarkable way of taking some controversial subjects, putting a joke into and still making the music sound like an absolute broadway classic. Seriously impressive stuff. Though good luck picking a favourite song AND not having “Hello” in your head for daaaaays.

The Show

Whilst it’s certainly not “family friendly” though that does depend on the sense of humour of your family I guess. It sheds light on some very important themes and messages. Religion being the obvious one, Mormon culture and values another and not forgetting the oppression and violence facing the villagers in Uganda. Though you will be forgiven for laughing at what can sometimes feel like the most inappropriate times. You’ll come away laughing as if you’ve spent the last 2 hours at a stand up comedy gig. I guess that’s the brilliance of comedy writing. There’ll be moments that will touch your heart, make you spit out your drink and come away thinking “WTF”. Never in my life did I expect to see a scene in a musical that included Hitler, giant dancing coffee cups and skeletons with doughnuts but BoM more than delivered on that front. You’ll also never think of/look at a frog in the same way.

 Considering I’ve been lucky enough to see shows at £20 a ticket BoM is certainly on the slightly more expensive side of the scale but it’s also worth every penny. Like with all the shows week nights will always be cheaper and there are plenty of websites out there with flash sales and last minute “seat filling” offers. The run time is 2 hours 30 mins with a 15 minute interval. Bookings are currently available until mid May with group bookings running longer. There is also a daily lottery where 21 top-price tickets from each day are made available for £20 each. More information can be found on the theatre website:

https://www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk/tickets/the-book-of-mormon/

NG x

 

REVIEW: Northern Girl on… Sh*t Faced Shakespeare

Me and Tom decided to have a date last Friday after securing ourselves tickets to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Sh*t Faced Shakespeare. We got our tickets on Time Out Offers so they were discounted to £14. Bargain.

We’ve been to  LST a few times already since moving here and I have to say we really like it. It’s incredibly tiny and intimate with stalls only seating for 400 (there’s also a second 70 seater lounge theatre) and the room itself has two bars at either side of the seats. They tend to hold a lot of comedy shows here but due to it’s limited seating you really have to keep an eye on the listings!

When we arrived at the theatre we simply had to swap our Time Out Vouchers for actual physical tickets at the box office which was a breeze and the box office staff are always extremely friendly and helpful. Once collected it was time to head in and enjoy the show.

We took our seats and had a quick view of the programme provided – great touch. Sat back and waited for the show to start. From that moment on, I don’t think I stopped laughing once. From the build up video right through to the final dance sequence was constant laughter.

 

For background info, Sh*t Faced Shakespeare are covering Much Ado About Nothing this summer with various shows throughout the year. There is a rotating cast of 10 classically trained, shakespearean actors playing 7 roles in each performance with one catch, one actor has been drinking for approximately 4 hours before the show. It is never the same actor on consecutive nights and they will never drink on more than 3 occasions in any given month (that is when they’re performing, I have no idea what they do in their spare time or after the show).


The show starts with the actor who is playing the compere/safety warden role warming up the crowd. Musical instruments and a bucket are handed out to members of the front row with the rules explained. If at any point the audience member with a musical instrument thinks the drunk actor is getting too sober; they sound their instrument, the compere comes back on stage and hands the drunk actor another drink. This can only happen on 3 occasions during the show so picking the right moment is key. The audience member with the bucket is told that if anyone shouts bucket at any moment they have to be alert and present said bucket – I think you can figure out why. The compere/safety warden then goes on to show the audience how much the actor has had to drink “ooooooh”. It’s fair to say our actor was truly shit faced. From memory I think he had consumed a can of lager, a bottle of cider and 2/3 of a bottle of Gordon’s gin; top effort. From there, the show starts.

One thing I think they did exceptionally well is they don’t actually tell you which actor is drunk and who they’re playing. Given that the opening scene starts with 3 out of the 6 characters you spend the first scene trying to work out which one of them is actually drunk. That was until the appearance of the other 3 characters where the safety warden/compere quickly appeared back on stage to replace a sword with a swimming noodle – safety first and all that. That moment in itself was just perfect hilarity and you now knew who the drunk was and what to watch out for in the show.

From the moments of confusing the characters in Much Ado to Macbeth, to calling the actors by their real name and discussing the actor’s watch which he forgot to remove – the actors are all in full shakespearean dress after all – the drunk Benedick provided some absolutely hilarious moments but what also blew me away was how incredible the other actors were to adapt to his drunken ramblings.

I don’t want to give too much away but I cannot recommend this show enough. It’s one of THE funnest nights in theatre I have ever had and I can’t wait to take literally every family member/friend who visits throughout the summer because the beauty of it is no two shows will ever be the same!

Just don’t sit on the front row if you don’t fancy making a spontaneous guest appearance… #otter

Have you seen Sh*t Faced Shake before? Let me know.

Ng x

Tickets available here: https://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873562224 The show is on until the 16th September 2017.