Once again The Book Of Mormon sweeps the theatre awards and once again I'm amazed.
When I saw it, I had bee looking forward to seeing this irreverent musical about religion. I like work that challenges and I've found the authors' TV series South Park very amusing.
Sadly for me, the Mormon Church picked on easy targets- a friend described them as low hanging fruit- and the conclusion that how you get to God doesn't matter so long as you get there was reinforcing the status quo rather than challenging it. It is so cosy and lacking in challenge that the Mormon Church actually advertsies in the programme. Or is it challenging to believe in God these days?
A liberal sprinkling of four letter words, blasphemy and humorous references to sexual violence might have made someone less seasoned laugh but I felt in need of a little more subtlety. Clearly the Olivier Awards panel disagreed, along with the judges of the Tony Broadway Awards and the Evening Standard Awards, so what do I know?
Maybe it's because I'm getting old. Contrary to the opinion of one young marketer I met recently, it's not young people who like something new, it's we oldies. While the young may be drawn to a work that incorporates the latest music or technology, they soon settle into what they feel comfortable with. As I get older, I find I increasingly look for something to surprise me and I get bored with the same old same old.
I react similarly to TV crime dramas- not another young female horrendously murdered, not another detective with a flawed personality, not another opposites attract relationship between the crime solving duo.
I realise it's a cliché for an older person to say 'I've seen it all before' and of course I miss looking at the world with the freshness of youth. It's like Shakespeare's The Tempest where Miranda is impressed by a 'brave new world' while her father Prospero looks to retirement 'where every third thought is my grave'.
The thing is, great art makes us all young. It invites us to see the world anew and it doesn't need faux shock or trendy gimmicks. Take the latest production of Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge at the Young Vic. It's performed on a totally empty stage so the actors' words hit you like a bare fist. If that doesn't sweep next year's Olivier Awards, maybe it will be time for me to leave the brave new theatrical world to the young.
This blog was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy The Lewis Experience and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.