THIS is a Thoroughly Modern Musical, full of satire, sex, songs which have you giggling helplessly at their clever lyrics, deliberately un-PC language and moves. The Book of Mormon has won a clutch of international awards since it first took the stage by storm in 2011 and I can see why.

All I knew about this was that it is written by the creators of South Park, a worldwide TV hit which some find crude and offensive. This has some of those elements but takes them to another level with catchy songs and great characters. I can’t understand why more of them – I Believe, Hello and Baptize Me, to name a few - have not already become as popular as tunes from other 21st century shows.

It bursts onto the stage with a squeaky clean, scrubbed and shiny and desperately enthusiastic young male cast, whose joyous enthusiasm in the opening number Hello is familiar to everyone who has ever answered a ring at the door to be greeted by a pair of earnest suited young men, brandishing a small book and offering to change your life for the better in just five minutes.

From its All-American quaintness of language, where the official title for a 19-year-old teenager setting off on a character-building Gap Year, is Elder, to its plethora of clichés, as they find themselves in the African jungle faced with a village filled with aberrant sexual behaviour and living in fear of Uzi-toting warlords with military monikers, it’s a complete delight.

Yes, the relative inexperience of most of the cast shows a little at times, and some might miss the usual chorus filled with Lycra-clad young ladies getting their first break in the profession. I found it rather refreshing, and if you’re worried about a lack of flesh to appreciate fear not, it’s here in plenty.

Which is where I suppose I ought to warn theatregoers – if you find crude language and sexual references upsetting, or thought the original design for the Olympic logo in TV comedy 2012 was beyond the pale – then this probably is not your sort of evening out.

I found the first half cleverer and funnier than the second, whereas my next-generation-down companion said she was the other way round, for as in most shows the extreme language and behaviour ramps up towards the end.

Don’t be put off by the title, or the thought that it is all about promoting a religion – it is, but I’ve never heard of anyone who was converted to Christianity by watching Jesus Christ Superstar, which in its day was considered equally shocking. Nor is its look at the Mormon movement all scathing, and it does a good job of explaining how, and why, people find religion and belief attractive and reassuring in the troubled world we live in.

The show has had runs in Salt Lake City itself, and the leaflet-wielding members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints outside at the end didn’t seem offended – after all a church with over 100 million members worldwide should have broad shoulders.

I loved it, and it’s now on my list of must-see-again shows. Tickets are still available, especially from February 3 onwards, at The Hippodrome is also running a ticket lottery: 15 tickets will be sold at £15 by ballot before each performance. Ballot entries will only be accepted in person, at the Box Office, from two-and-a-half hours before curtain up at 7.30pm. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at £15 each, a deal worth considering if you’re on a tight budget. Enjoy.

Alison Phillips