I spent Tuesday in London with a flatmate, essentially killing time until the real reason we were there:
We wandered through Chinatown…
We stopped in at one of the best comic book shops I’ve ever visited (Orbital Comics — if you are at all into comic books, graphic novels, good/weird art, or other interesting finds, you won’t be disappointed with this shop), then we had lunch at Spaghetti House. I ordered the pappardelle with Yorkshire venison & wild mushroom ragù. It was simply prepared and delicious. There’s no picture because after the server piled my dish high with fresh cheese, a mountain of dairy is all you would’ve been able to see.
We went by the Prince of Wales Theatre to see if our tickets were available for pick-up. We collected them from the box office, and I took the opportunity to immortalize the moment 🙂 :
We headed to Waterstones determined only to use their facilities and not buy anything (because there’s a Waterstones in Guildford town centre, which I’ve visited approximately 8 billion times since I’ve been here). But of course I couldn’t escape the pull of the shelves completely and ended up buying two books: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (which I’ve been looking forward to reading for ages), and YOLO by Lauren Myracle (the unexpected (for me anyway) follow-up to her teen trilogy of novels written entirely in Instant Messenger format). After losing my flatmate and finding her again, we went to Caffe Concerto for dessert…and I ended up eating a duck & roasted pear salad (after having had profiteroles covered in a sheet of chocolate, and some hot chocolate to drink).
After we ate, it was finally time…!
I grabbed a cocktail before the show that I promptly spilled onto my seat and the seat in front of me (have I ever told y’all how clumsy I am?), but only a bit — most of the drink made it into my actual mouth 😉 The screen pulled down over the stage had a dreamy scene of clouds and the moon painted in blues and purples. I saw it and immediately heard the opening bars from The Princess and the Frog (🎼The evening star is shining bright/So make a wish and hold on tight/There’s magic in the air tonight/And an-y-thing can happen).
The first half of the show was pretty funny, and I loved the character Arnold Cunningham (so awkward, sometimes creepy, and always funny). My favorite songs from Act I were “Hello” (because it absolutely had me flashing back to the time a pair of Mormons came to my door, and memories of my own childhood door-to-door experiences as a Jehovah’s Witness), “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (Lucy St. Louis sang so beautifully!), and “Man Up.” I liked Act I well enough, but I wasn’t particularly wowed by it; it generally went the way I expected it to story-wise. Have you ever been exposed so heavily to something that you start noticing patterns in people’s work? The humor, storyline, and song lyrics in Act I were pretty much what I expected from the guys who created South Park and Robert Lopez, the co-creator of Avenue Q (another musical with hilarious songs that I have to see one day).
Act II is where things really picked up for me and I started getting excited about what was happening. I L-O-V-E-D “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream.” Easily my favorite number of the entire show. I credit about 85% of the reason why to the line “I can’t believe Jesus called me a diiiiiiick!!!!” and the look on Jesus’s face as he haughtily glided away. I. DIED. Those were two of the best things I’ve ever witnessed. Period. Runner-ups for favorite number are: “Baptize Me” (the actors were so into it! If you weren’t laughing during that one, you were dead. Only excuse.), “I Believe” (especially when Elder Price went to see the general. YEESH…), and the reprise of “Hello” because it was just perfect.
Act II took some turns I didn’t expect both musically and with character development. While the performances in Act I were fun (and funny), the performances in Act II blew me away. Most importantly, the way the story progressed and ended made me see the purpose of religion a bit differently. I’ve always seen it as a tool of hope and, as a result of past dealings with it, have certain opinions about the workings of religion within specific contexts. However, realizing how much hope it can give to people whose lives are an endless nightmare was incredibly heartwarming. The musical also points out that it’s possible to appreciate what religion can do for someone without believing the claims of said religion yourself. I love hope. It’s gotten me through some terrible situations. But I have a whole new appreciation for it now, which is something I, hands down, did not expect to come away with after watching this show.
I am so impressed with The Book of Mormon and can’t recommend it highly enough. My message to anyone who hasn’t seen it: buy tickets. ASAP (unless you’re very easily offended, in which case it may not be your cuppa). The cast is crazy talented, but it’s easy to see that everyone involved also takes tremendous care in putting this show on. Afterwards, the actors told the audience about a charity called Acting for Others — an organization that collects money for actors and theatre staff who are having a hard time either because of disabilities, severe illness, or because they are responsible for children with special needs — and they, along with some members of front-of-house staff, collected money for it in the lobby. I gave as many loose £s as I had on me.
See this show. That is all.