‘Urinetown’ better than its name

Urinetown-The Musical isn’t the kind of appealing name that makes you run to the theatre.
But you should have.

Urinetown-The Musical was originally scheduled to run from Sept. 5 through the 27. However, demand was so popular two additional shows were added for October 4 and 5.

When I first stepped into the small “black-box” that is the Maybee Theater, the setting grabbed my attention. Urinetown was displayed in Hollywood style lettering above the set and very industrial-like buildings were constructed for the play.

The show began with citizens emerging in dim light, dressed in filthy and ragged clothes. Officer Lockstock (Cody Tumlin) emerges and straight away breaks the fourth wall to welcome the audience to the production.

Lockstock and Little Sally (Jenna Petty) do a humorously fantastic job at introducing the musical, “suffice it to say that in Urinetown (the musical) everyone has to use public bathrooms in order to take care of their private business. That’s the central conceit of the show!”

The first scene shows how citizens must wait in extraordinarily long lines to pay far too many coins in order to use the filthiest public urinal in the city.

The citizens are oppressed in the dystopia ruled by the tyrannical Caldwell B. Cladwell (Daryl Berry) and his bathroom monopolizing business Urine Good Co.

Penelope Pennywise (Maija Johnson-Horn) is the head custodian in charge of Public Amenity No. 9 where she strictly enforces Urine Good Co. policies that citizens must pay to pee.

Even though Bobby Strong (Mark Kaufman) has sympathy for the citizens he must follow Pennywise’s orders.

Cladwell’s daughter has just arrived in town, her name is Hope (Kristen Cantrell Loyd) and she gave Bobby Strong just that. It was that hope for romance and something better for the poor citizens that caused Bobby to be the leader of the revolution against Urine Good Co. industrial power house corporation.

Each of the songs perfectly balanced the plots seriousness with sometimes goofy choreography by Caitlin Miles and hilarious lyrics that flowed well with the theme and issues in the story. The actors had fabulous voices that captivated and moved the audience.

The dialogue was just brilliant. Tumlin and Kaufman were both very strong characters that held on very well to their parts.

You could see the sparkle in Kaufman’s eye and hear the sternness in Tumlin’s voice that truly molded them into Bobby and Lockstock.

One thing in particular that made me laugh every time was the characters’ melodramatic reactions to little things. Sometimes they would exclaim “What?!” when a character would enter and have the audience almost rolling out of their seats in laughter.

The only complaints I have deal with technical aspects of the production. The “black box” Mabee Theatre is very square, which makes it difficult to see into some parts of the set, depending on where you are sitting.

Another thing was, because the area is so small and several of the cast members had multiple parts, the way the characters would move around or exit to change costume could be distracting to the audience.

This distraction removed the audience from the story and music and brought them back into the real world for a small amount of time.

Overall the actors did exceptionally well at both becoming their character and singing the quirky songs.

The writer did a great job at incorporating comedy into an important political theme.
I encourage everyone to go and watch an MCT production.

A Streetcar Named Desire will be in Mabee Theatre II Oct. 24 to Nov. 15 and A Christmas Carol will be in the Davis Theatre I Nov. 21 to Dec. 21, 2014