Urinetown Review - Everything A Musical Should Be And Somehow More

Posted on 27 October 2014

Last night I went to Urinetown. Not the place, the musical! Superficially this is a show about having to pay to pee, and it’s safe to say I was dubious about what to expect as I took my seat in the Apollo Theatre.

As the Urinetown trailer claims, this show has all the expected elements of a Great West End musical: catchy songs, plenty of laughs, romance, heroes, villains and bunnies.  But this show also packs a punch, with a dark and serious undertone seemingly at odds with its jovial façade.

This is a thought provoking and highly entertaining show. Taking a very tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre and using it’s brevity to subtly invite its audience to consider the ominous yet fundamental message: How long before our planet can no longer take care and provide for us, if we don’t take care of it?

Set in a dystopian world where the demand for water so far exceeds its supply that the basic human need to eliminate waste from your body is no longer available to the majority, Urinetown deals with some profound subject matter. The ludicrous notion that water shortage could reach the point where people no longer have the freedom to pee at will, and are charged a fee by the establishment every time they have to ‘go’ generates plenty of hilarity. But how absurd is it really? If the corrupt few control such a powerful resource, something we simply cannot survive without, what then becomes of the rest of us? Drought, death and corruption. Who writes a musical about such depressing subject matter and if someone did, who would go see it?

Well the creative geniuses behind Urinetown have done it. It’s everything a musical should be and somehow more. Its extremely talented cast, clever lyrics, and captivating score had me enchanted. I for one will go to see it again and again and again. I left the theatre last night feeling contemplative and with an unexpected sense of foreboding.  Yet my cheeks were literally sore from laughing. 

If asked to describe Urinetown, hilarious is the first adjective that pops to mind and I recommend this show to everyone. For me it’s love at first viewing.

Reviewed by Sheila White