Book of Mormon Sounds Great

Sounds like Trey Parker and Matt Stone have another hit on their hands.

But for all its irreverence — and there’s enough off-color insouciance to offend church ladies of every denomination — “The Book of Mormon” has the old-fashioned musical comedy heart of adults who spent much of their adolescence lip-syncing to original cast albums in their finished basements.

Co-directed by Parker and Casey Nicholaw (“The Drowsy Chaperone”), the production also has a slight earnest streak that may be easy to overlook once the action moves to Uganda and the AIDS jokes pile up, but it is detectable in the authors’ appreciation of the boldness and adaptability of religious imaginations. (Sociology 101 bullet points undergird the zaniness.) Oh, and rest assured, pious friends, that even in the heathen precincts of the Great White Way, faith works in mysterious ways.

All of which is to say that this boisterously outrageous show can feel at times oddly familiar. The laughter is steady but nostalgic, harking back to classic routines that have been refurbished with more daring expletives. Granted, it’s not easy to sustain a giddy level of hilarity over two full acts — even Aristophanes and the Marx Brothers hit stale patches. “The Book of Mormon” occasionally has that fresh-from-the-can, vitamin-enriched flavor, but it has a great compensatory weapon: the propulsive verve of a runaway hit.

Sounds like there is finally a musical Lady Oyster and I could go see and enjoy together.


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