Musical "Book of Mormon" opens in London to mixed reviews

Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:22am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - The controversial Tony awards-winning musical "The Book of Mormon" opened in London to mixed reviews on Friday in its debut outside the United States.

The musical, by the creators of the animated TV comedy "South Park", is an expletive-filled satire of two Mormon missionaries from Salt Lake City sent to Africa to win converts.

Writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone have the Mormons confront a thuggish one-eyed warlord terrorizing terminally ill villagers in Uganda in a world where AIDS is dominant and female circumcision rife.

The show, by Parker and Stone in collaboration with "Avenue Q" co-creator Robert Lopez, opened on Broadway in March 2011 to wide acclaim and won nine Tony awards, Broadway's highest honors.

The musical opened in London's West End theatre district on Thursday after a month of previews with a host of celebrities in attendance, including "Homeland" actor Damian Lewis and actress Kate Winslet with husband Ned RocknRoll.

Aggressive promotion, with billboards across London, and limited ticket sales helped create a buzz about the show at a time when theatres are using various schemes to fill seats and draw in new audiences.

Tickets to evening performances are sold out until June with a new batch of tickets released on Friday. The show's promoters are also holding a daily lottery which hands out 20 tickets.

Figures from the Society of London Theatre showed they earned 530 million pounds ($830 million) in 2012, a marginal rise on 2011, when attendance nudged up to 14 million.   Continued...

Actor Neil Patrick Harris performs with the cast of 'The Book of Mormon' during the American Theatre Wing's 66th annual Tony Awards in New York June 10, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson