Littered with bathroom jokes, pee puns and all-around crass humor, Urinetown: The Musical, was written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis and directed by A.J. Allegra. It is a contemporary satire with a talented cast, a great production team and an enticing story.
The plot takes on a note of surreal humor and over-the-top satirical tones as the audience is asked to root for Bobby Strong. He creates an uprising within his poverty-stricken community over the taxation of public restrooms by the “evil” corporation (Urine Good Company) run by Cladwell B. Cladwell.
All of this happens because of a 20-year drought that. Because of the lack of surface water, bathroom waste has began to taint the only source of water the town had: groundwater. As the characters point out during the numerous times they break the fourth wall, there are many metaphors oscillating between in-your-face and …slightly less in-your-face.
Perhaps the only downfall of Urinetown is that there is not a lot of critical thinking to be done on the audience’s part. The humor often capitalizes on stereotypical plot devices and what modern media has lead you to suspect in these kind of dystopian stories. By the end of the first scene in the first act, the play already set up the question of a “metaphorical Urinetown,” as well as the groundwork for the very last scene.
The story aptly addresses possibilities for dealing with a corrupt government, a failing planet, and desperate people. A final monologue from one of the leading characters neatly wraps up the fate of each. Urinetown builds upon the idea that good intentions pave the road to hell, and isn’t afraid to show just how bad that can be, with well-timed jokes to go with it.
The story does not shy away from attacking government corruption, the heartless abuse of mega-corporations that prey upon a status quo, an easily bought police force and the easily misconstructed message of the uprisers. It paints every side with detail, so it’s not hard to miss the message: to be ruled with fear is detrimental to any cause.
The talented actors included Patrick Hunter (Detective Lockstock), Natalie Boyd (Little Sally) and Alex Martinez Wallace (Cladwell B. Cladwell). The audience was constantly engaged and laughing along with the jokes [of the musical]. Another highlight of the show was the audience incorporation. The constant breaking of the fourth wall allowed for audience to feel as if they were character in the musical instead of a spectator.
Urinetown: The Musical was a humourous, unique and well-executed satire by the director and the cast. It made for an unforgettable night, while reminding everyone that they have the right to pee no matter what.