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The Book of Mormon ends run at Hancher

Harry Westergaard reviews the critically acclaimed musical The Book of Mormon, which just finished its run at Hancher.

Harry Westergaard, Film Critic/Reporter

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People seating and awaiting the start of the show.

The newly opened Hancher Auditorium continues its new season with The Book of Mormon, the vulgar musical from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The musical is sure to offend some, make others throw up, while quite a few morel laugh themselves silly. I happened to land into the latter category. The musical was hilarious and well realized with Hatcher’s new space. This is the first real big show that Hancher has put up in the new building. Performances all around were fantastic. I loved how throughout the show the stage had a sort of cathedral border with a few planets peeking out at top (possibly hinting at the ones that Jesus has according to the titular book).

While the musical is hilarious, I think it goes without saying that it’s not for those who easily spit up lunch. Basically it all boils down to your feelings on South Park. The humor is interwoven with clever satire on Mormonism and religion in general. When Elder Cunningham is left by his missionary colleague Elder Price to convert African natives on his own, he gets them excited and eventually converts them by making up fantastical additions to the book including characters from Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. They buy this version and find it much more interesting than the actual text. Thus, the Mormons get their first converts in Uganda. By connecting these fantasy and sci-fi classics, the musical cleverly states how Mormonism is just as insane as the notions of a Death Star and Orcs.

The whole musical was staged well at Hancher. The numbers “The Turn It Off” and “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” were especially done effectively. The former featured flickering stage lights and a very high energy dance number with sparkly vests. The hell set was an elaborate cave-like with everyone dancing around in devil and demon costumes. The song, as well as the sets and performers had me in stitches. I also loved “Making Things Up Again.”

If you didn’t get a chance to see the show, you are seriously missing out. But never fear, for the soundtrack album is on Spotify so it can still be experienced in that format. The musical is not for those who are easily offended, but if you love lewd humour and clever religious satire The Book of Mormon is a must.

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A look at the new Hancher

Hancher has more great shows coming up as well. In December the new Joffrey Ballet version of the Nutcracker is coming; the following month The Sound of Music is opening; Momma Mia is coming in February, and Yo Yo Ma will be playing in March. If you didn’t make it to one of Hancher’s earlier shows this season, there are definitely choices for everyone coming up.

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The Book of Mormon ends run at Hancher