Text by Tessa Lillis
All images courtesy of The Just So Society
Before attending the premiere of Urinetown, I had no prior knowledge of the play other than that it has been described as a satirical, comedic, and catchy musical. The plot was a mystery to me, though the title evidently hinted at the musical’s nature. Overall, the performance effectively portrayed all of the above, as it was difficult not to laugh, but also not to be touched throughout most of Urinetown.
Firstly, the premise is absolutely hilarious, as it is set in a time where you can’t “pee for free”. People are forced to pay extreme prices to use public toilets, as there has been a decline in the amount of water available to the public. Bobby Strong, the main protagonist, attempts to overthrow this unjust system that has been put in place, revolting against the evil institution and attempting to gain free access for everyone. This amusing portrayal of an inequitable government, and the choice to focus on an issue audiences wouldn’t usually expect, helped satirize capitalism and bureaucracy in a clever way.
The performance absolutely blew me away. All actors involved were such well-rounded performers, and I was thoroughly impressed not only by their acting but also by their remarkable voices. Both individual and chorus performers had such striking voices, beautifully performing the musical numbers. Each and every performer was dedicated to their characters, and effectively portrayed the satire which was essential to the musical. Audiences both laughed at and with the characters. The narrator in particular brought the satire of the show together, pointing out the obvious and openly criticizing conventional musicals in an amusing way. When it is finally revealed that Urinetown is not the typical musical, the narrative style and its overall execution became even more entertaining.
All in all, Urinetown pleasantly surprised me. It will be hard to forget the impressive actors, voices, and overall performances. This silly and satirical musical was such a pleasant end to the week, inspiring the audiences but, more importantly, making them laugh.