Urinetown – The Musical (review)

Urinetown – The Musical (review)
Urinetown – The Musical (review)
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THE PLAY: After a severe water shortage all bathroom activities are controlled by an evil private corporation that demands ever-increasing fees. A group of desperate citizens stages a revolt.

 

THE PRODUCTION: As you can tell from the plot summary, this is not a realistic musical. That means it needs a strongly stylistic approach. Director James Stover has kept the pacing brisk, but something doesn’t quite click. The dialogue (which often flaunts theatre conventions) was sometimes garbled. The actors playing the lead roles turn in acceptable but bland performances (with the more experienced Matt Ferrell providing a strong center), but it’s the sharp ensemble that stands out. Their strong voices (under the musical direction of Ben Miller) make an mighty impact and Brianna Larson’s choreography is snappy and sometimes echoes the show’s peculiar sense of humor. It’s a challenge to make “rundown” look artistic and the primary backdrop by Grenville Burgess doesn’t succeed. It’s just dark and ugly. The art deco office manages to add some bright color. Mike Jarett’s lighting design dynamically accents the action, although the glaring footlights were a distraction in my side seat. The few flirty dresses designed by Xiaolin Lan were lovely and the rest of the costumes were appropriately grimy.

 

THE POINT: The sharp, sassy ensemble is the show’s strongest asset. This lively production is wicked fun, but still falls short.

 

NOTE: It’s not a regular practice to review college productions, but I make occasional exceptions.

 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

 

A production of TheatreVCU at the Raymond Hodges Theatre thru 5/1

 

utown 3

 

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