Urinetown by Trinity Laban
Urinetown is a musical satire comedy which is set in the not so distant future where there is water shortages and as a consequence it has lead to a ban on private toilets. Public toilets are all owned by the Urine Good Company (UGC) and extortionate fees are charged for use. If the rules are not obeyed then the public are sent to ‘Urinetown.’ Soon Bobby Strong, urged on by Hope Cladwell the owner of UGC’s daughter stages a rebellion taking Hope as a hostage. The show is firmly set in the style of Brecht and mocks Broadway Musicals as well as numerous political ideologies.
Urinetown was put on by Trinity Laban second years, a year group with a lot of talent. All of their vocals stood out, both as an ensemble with good harmonies as well as from the principals. I saw the Thursday performance so leading them were Rebecca Wickes as Pennywise who not only belted the hell out of her numbers but had great comedy timing. Danielle Whittaker as Little Sally and Harvey Westwood as Lockstock. They nicely complimented each other as the narrators of the piece, reveling in the self referencing narrative. Whittaker in particular was a character you warmed to.
Molly Osbourne as big hearted and naive Hope Cladwell and Philip Murch as Bobby Strong are the focal couple of the piece and were a nice couple together with good chemistry. However I would have liked the satire eeked out more. Their lines needed to be even more over the top and absurd, especially from Murch.
Student shows such as these always struggle when they need to depict a range of ages and in Urinetown, Cladwell should be old enough to be Hope’s father. Christian Andrews therefore had an uphill struggle but portrayed Cladwell with an interesting, but camp twist. I personally would have liked Cladwell to be a but more sinister however this interpretation played on the students strengths and Andrews’ commitment to it was admirable.
I really enjoyed the ensemble in Urinetown. Quite often you find performers who are focussed on looking pretty but in Urinetown there is no room for this. The quirky is encouraged as is the full on expressions. The ensemble rose to this. Numbers such as ‘Urinetown’ and ‘Privilege to Pee’ are examples of where the cast rise to this challenge and every fiber of their body screams ‘quirky performance.’
The set was clever. I loved the sight of the band lit up in a box, like a spectacle and the curtain drawn on them when necessary. The comic book style backdrops and occasional use of comic book signage was also clever although at times I would have liked the more stylized acting to match this. The costumes could have been equally as comic book if this was the style they were going down.
This performance shows that Trinity Laban students are a force to be reckoned with. I would love to see their 3rd year performance to see just how they have developed but if they are at this stage in their second year then the future must be bright for them in the extremely competitive world of musical theatre.
You can find out more about Trinity Laban on their website.