Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The phenomenon of Urinetown made a bit of splash in London last year and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland production bursts with enthusiasm here at the 2015 Fringe.
The piece is very aware of being a musical with a difference and the audience is frequently reminded of that very fact. To deliver a convincing musical takes skill, talent and craft; to deliver a musical parody calls on all of these attributes and that special relationship between a cast and audience to make the whole conceit work. Luckily, the talented team from RCS delivers – comfortably.
The central plot is that we are in an age where water supplies are so limited that people are no longer permitted lavatories in the privacy of their own homes. They must pay a fee to pee at designated amenities provided by UGC (Urine Good Company). Failure to comply results in the culprit being expelled to ‘Urinetown’, a place shrouded in mystery and dread. This climate of fear and desperation creates an underclass, members of which save all that can in order to pay their local amenity charges.
Our hero, Bobby Strong, works at one of the poorer quality amenities in a world of beige and squalor. Our heroine, Hope Cladwell, is the only daughter of Caldwell B Cladwell, chief executive of UGC in a world of crisp, clean blue and white.
Just how these two worlds meet and the romance against the lust for power and money makes for classic musical territory, complete with narrator to keep us all ‘in the picture’. Crisp direction, precise choreography and an ensemble of superb vocal quality keep the audience roaring with laughter from start to finish.
The full-length show (complete with that rare thing in Edinburgh – an interval!) is an absolute joy and as there is a double cast for several roles, this reviewer plans on fitting in a second visit to see the other cast.
A sure-fire hit!
* Readers may also be interested in:
Under the Ground – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Review
Willy’s Bitches – Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Review