Urinetown The Musical is situated in an urban dystopia, with a 1930s feel. After two decades of drought, the people have been subjected to pay-per-use public toilets, monopolised by corrupt politician Caldwell B. Cladwell. Any who fail to pay the ‘fee to pee’ to the headstrong amenity managers, like Penelope Pennywise, end up in Urinetown – a mysterious place for punishment and execution.
The status quo is broken with the arrival of the tycoon’s daughter Hope, fresh out of the ‘most expensive university in the world’ and ready to work at her father’s business, the Urine Good Company. Her meeting with young cleaner and hero of the show, Bobby Strong, ends with them whimsically falling in love. After Strong’s ‘Old Man’ is taken to the dreaded Urinetown, he ignites a revolution against Cladwell’s system, much to the dismay of his new love.
This show really takes the phrase ‘spending a penny’ to a whole new level. Despite having a serious message, the satire cleverly remains hilarious from beginning to end. From capitalism, popularism and bureaucracy, to musical theatre itself, there are very few matters that Urinetown does not ridicule.
The tuneful and tongue-in-cheek nature of this show often limits how far ideas can be explored; however, with characters like Officer Lockstock and curious Little Sally, who regularly break the fourth wall, the audience are entertained whilst easily following the complex themes.
The students at Park Street Performing Arts Centre have demonstrated their outstanding skills and abilities to bring this intricate Broadway show and its characters to life. Although the premise of the story seems extreme, and Lockstock repeatedly reminds us that it is ‘just a musical’, the cast convey the story in such a way that the audience is left questioning our future, whilst pondering the unsustainability of our current way of life.
Next performances: 4-6 March, 7:30pm
Park Street Performing Arts Centre, 29 Park Street, Hull, HU2 8RR
Adults £8, Concessions £6
Book now: 01482 222452
Author: Courtney Farrow