The Book of Mormon - an outrageous treat as good taste flies out the window

The Book of Mormon, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until March 5.

The Book of Mormon -Credit Paul Coltas
The Book of Mormon -Credit Paul Coltas

It certainly seems to be the marmite musical.

If you are a Book of Mormon virgin, people will be queuing up to predict whether you will like it or not.

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Four people told me I’d love it; five people told me I’d hate it.

Well, dear reader, the great news is that the ayes most definitely have it.

It’s utterly outrageous but gets away with it because it is also utterly hilarious.

Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler dancing with a gang of skeletons and devils while simultaneously performing/receiving sex acts really, really oughtn’t to be funny.

And yet it is – though the highlights are still to come at that point. Baptize Me is sublime with its show of religious fervour muddled up with rather baser instincts.

But really it’s Joseph Smith/American Moses that brings the house down.

This is a show which says so much about the ghastly arrogance of trying to convert anyone to anything – and it says so to devastating comic effect.

But there’s still room for a little hesitation. Certainly not on the grounds of good taste. Good taste flies out the window the moment the show starts.

No, the problem is that so many of the lyrics, doubtless so clever, are just impossible to decipher. Rapid delivery, various accents, maybe poor projection… It’s probably all of those.

The fact is that so much of it will be lost on the first-timer.

You will be sitting there wishing you'd done your homework better, but equally thinking that knowing a show really shouldn’t be a prerequisite to enjoyment.

Clearly, though, the better you know The Book of Mormon, the more you will get out of it – and as a first introduction, this is definitely enough to make you wish for more…

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