In a single sentence, Urinetown is the happiest sounding musical that ends in the most depressing way, and this production did the show absolute justice.
As part of the On the Rocks student arts festival, the Just So Society put on Urinetown in the Byre Theatre, directed by Ryan Hay and starring an absolutely fabulous cast. The satirical, witty show held a strong and sobering message – our way of life is no longer sustainable, and we need to change before the future becomes so grim that drastic measures need to be taken.
Urinetown is about a place where a twenty-year drought has created a water shortage so dire that the town’s water needs to be so heavily controlled that all trips to the bathroom must be paid for in public bathrooms. Unfortunately, relieving yourself outside of these bathrooms is illegal and punishable with a trip to what is referred to as “Urinetown.” However, fee hikes and minimal mercy from the bureaucrats who control the water has pushed the town’s poorest to extreme measures – a revolution for free water for everyone. Ultimately, the rebels survive the revolution while the bureaucrats do not and everything seems bright until the water that was once rationed runs dry and everyone is the cast perishes from dehydration.
The casting choices for this musical were perfect, with no noticeable weak member among the cast. Every performer on stage was confident in their performances and exhibited amazing and infectious energy, keeping everyone in the audience engaged and on the edge of their seat. A notable mention goes to Connor Powell, who played the show’s villain Caldwell B. Caldwell, the money hungry CEO of Urine Good Compan,y who controlled the town’s water supply and the public toilets (“amenities”) throughout the town. His stage presence captured the audience, and his less than subtle Trumpisms contributed to the message of the entire show.
While other reviews of this show mentioned technical errors as a detractor from their enjoyment of this show, I am glad that these were resolved and unnoticeable by the final night. This show is among the best performances in St Andrews that I have seen, and I look forward to future productions from the Just So Society.