Urinetown - Firehall Arts Centre

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 November 1 – 29, Firehall Arts Centre

By: Tessa Perkins

First published in The Peak.

What if there comes a time when water shortages are so severe that it becomes a privilege to pee? Urinetown is back at the Firehall to explore this possibility with hilarious characters and songs, while playing with established musical theatre tropes.

Unique to this show is the narrator who breaks the fourth wall to welcome us to Urinetown, “the musical not the place,” and explain what we’re about to see. His conversations with the inquisitive Little Sally throughout the show explain what is going on, and as he explains in detail what we’re about to see, he says things like, “too much exposition can kill a show,” while Little Sally asks “what kind of musical is this?”

As the citizens count their pennies and line up to pee at the public amenity, Caldwell Cladwell discusses his plan for higher fees and his trip to Rio de Janiero. Bobby Strong works at the public amenity and after meeting Cladwell’s daughter, Hope, finds the courage to let people pee for free and stand up to the corporation, Urine Good Company. Officers Lockstock and Barrel try to calm the crowds as Bobby leads the rebellion and Hope is torn between supporting her father or her newfound love, Bobby.

While self-aware and verging on cliche in its mimicry of common musical theatre devices, this show manages to be fresh and inspiring. Anton Lipovetsky’s performance as Bobby was particularly impressive, along with Tracey Power as the precocious Little Sally who never broke her childish persona, and Andrew Wheeler as the headstrong Cladwell.

More information: firehallartscentre.ca.

Photo by: David Cooper.

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