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Urinetown The Musical at St James theatre

Published 9 October 2014

What’s it all about?

What is Urinetown? The song will tell you all sorts about the town itself. The musical, however, is a dystopian tale about a town suffering a crippling drought. Business tycoon Caldwell B Cladwell’s money-making solution to privatise public toilets has meant that, over time, the privilege to pee has become a pricey pastime. If residents struggle to scrape together enough pennies and are forced to relieve themselves in public, they’re sent to Urinetown, from where it’s quite likely – well, very, actually – they’ll never return.

Who’s in it?

Matthew Seadon-Young leads the cast as Bobby Strong, taking over from Richard Fleeshman who played the role during the musical’s run at the St James Theatre. He lends a generous hint of geekiness to his performance in the first act before his character – fittingly, given his name – gains strength, becoming a confident and determined leader of the revolution.

Olivier Award winner Jenna Russell is an exceptionally feisty Ms Pennywise, wowing the audience not only with her incredible singing voice but also with her amusing combination of martial arts and physical comedy. Simon Paisley Day adds just a touch of Basil Fawlty to his portrayal of the town’s despicable tyrant Caldwell B Cladwell, while Jonathan Slinger does a sterling job in his dual role as Lockstock and narrator; his exchanges with Karis Jack’s endearing Little Sally on the conventions of musical theatre, and how Urinetown The Musical goes against them, provide some of the most amusing moments in the show.

What should I look out for?

If press night is anything to go by, you should look out for the longest applause ever achieved after a song in a musical ever. Is there an Olivier Award for that? The cast’s rendition of Run, Freedom, Run caused such a furore of delight across the auditorium that it’s a wonder the cast were able to continue.

Soutra Gilmour’s revolving set of sewers and urinals, which brings the dark and dank world of Urinetown startlingly to life.

In a nutshell?

Urine for a treat with Jamie Lloyd’s ingenious production of this refreshingly unconventional musical. It’s more than just a wee bit good.

Who was in the press night crowd?

Among the hundreds of individuals with legs crossed in the audience, we caught sight of McBusted’s James Bourne, Nathan Amzi’s Rock Of Ages co-star Oliver Tompsett and actor Steve Pemberton.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@JustineMitchel2 Peed myself with joy at the brilliance of @UrinetownUK tonight @jennarusselluk with her exquisite skills knocks it out of the park. Go see!

‏@JonJonBriones Saw @UrinetownUK tonight with @MeganBriones1 My best buddy @theamzi was just wonderful. Love this show and you should run to see this show.

Will I like it?

This is not a happy musical, as Lockstock will tell you; nor is it in any way conventional. But its doom and gloom, and slightly off-the-wall approach to a popular genre, is what makes it an absolute must-see. And what better time to indulge in a bit of blood-spattering violence than in the run-up to Halloween.

Urinetown The Musical is currently booking until 24 January 2015. You can book tickets through us.

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