“Urinetown is not a happy musical, Little Sally.”
“But the music is so happy, Officer Lockstock!”
And these lines from the show sum it up. The storyline is bleak – the residents of the town are unable to go to the toilet unless they pay for the privilege, and if they break the law and pee in public they are banished from the town forever! Despite the grim tale, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland‘s Masters students pull off a wonderful spectacle of big show numbers, great individual performances, and all to a superb soundtrack.
The musical opened in London last year to wide acclaim and it is easy to see why. The writing is clever: a musical which mocks musicals through the narration of Officer Lockstock (Joel Schaefer) and ably helped to move the storyline along with star performer, Lauren Mayer, who takes the role of Little Sally and is exceptional in it. Toilet related puns are “sprinkled” throughout and the extended metaphor of “Hope” provides the musical with both a main character and a happier moral message to take home than the greed and corruption element.
The set is simple – a large toilet – and the costumes perfect. As they hop about from foot-to-foot the audience truly believe they really need the toilet (indeed the audience themselves made full use of the facilities at the interval, perhaps due in part to the subject matter…) and the choreography and songs capture the energy of the show excellently. There is a standing ovation for the young cast before the audience leave, thankful they are free to pee! Urinetown is well worth spending a penny (or slightly more) on.
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