It’s a Privilege to See Urinetown at KensingtonBy Laura & Mike Clark • Nov 4th, 2006 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of Urinetown [MP3 5:49 1.7MB].
Mike: Urinetown is a musical. It’s the story of a society that is having an extreme water shortage. The bathrooms have been regulated and the only bathrooms you are allowed to use are the ones run by a private company. Everyone has to pay so they can go to the restroom. A revolution occurs and the story focuses on what happens in the revolution.
Laura: Again this was a show that I wasn’t sure what to expect. As the name implies, Urinetown doesn’t necessarily sound like a real uplifting show. And granted it doesn’t exactly have a real happy ending, but it really went beyond just the story plot to talk about balance of power and when power is abused and and the conflict of trying to bring order out of chaos and what that means.
Mike: This was a really good show. I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve read the description on the internet and listened to some of the sound track, but didn’t quite know what to expect. Kensington did a really good job with it.
Laura: Bobby Strong, the hero in Urinetown, was played by Andy Izquierdo. Once again he did a terrific job. He has a really great presence on stage and shows a lot of emotion. Gives a lot of emotion. He just kind of exudes an energy that I think is picked up by the audience. He really believes in what he is acting.
Mike: And the love interest of Bobby Strong was the unattainable Hope Cladwell, played by Hannah Willman. Hope Cladwell was fresh out of the most expensive university in the world, getting a job at the UGC which owns all the different toilets in the city. The innocence of Hope was stretched the very first day because she ran into Bobby and fell in love even though they didn’t quite know it yet. But as is explained to us a little later it is a musical and anything can happen, but it’s not always going to be the good positive things.
Laura: And one of the characters that I thought brought a lot of spunk to Urinetown the Musical was Jaclyn Young. She played the role of Little Sally. She was the girl that was trying to collect her coins so she could pay to use the public toilet. Wee Sally just had a lot of energy, a lot of pep. You could really see the emotion on her face. She was just a lot of fun to watch.
Mike: Little Sally kept reminding me of Little Orphan Annie. It was just another one of those little touches that’s in the middle of the show that you’re not quite expecting.
And the narrator of the show was Officer Lockstock played by Michael Nansel. He had a really fun job in that he got to break that fourth wall and talk to the audience about the show. And explaining that in some musicals that they’re not all happy. He and Little Sally had a lot of fun scenes together. They both did a really good job with those parts.
Laura: It was a large cast so unfortunately we we can’t talk about everybody. But everybody worked together. You really felt like it was a community effort and they really worked well together in the singing and the dance numbers.
Mike: When you decide to go see this show, make sure you get there a little bit early because there is a lot of informational material posted outside the walls of the theater. There is the history of the toilet and and there are different rules. There’s a listing of the people who have violated some of the Urinetown laws. There were just a lot of small touches throughout the lobby and the waiting area. It’s all these small touches that really make this show stand out a little bit more than just a regular show.
Laura: I really liked the set, too. It was very creative. It kind of made me feel a little bit like the 60’s like when they were doing Godspell or something. Just the graffiti on the walls. They had one piece of equipment that was a set of stairs that they were able to move back and forth depending on what was necessary and I really liked that.
Mike: One problem with the show was the orchestra was a little too loud at certain parts. Some of the songs were fine and you could understand everything and the dancing worked out really well. But there were a handful of songs where the orchestra was just too loud. I don’t know if the were not loud enough, but there was something out of kilter there.
One song I really liked a lot. One of my favorite songs of the evening was in the first act, the Cop Song. Lockstock and Barrel and four other people from the ensemble came out and sang a really good song. It came together really well.
Laura: The lighting was really good. I thought it definitely enhanced the show. There were light cues set to enhance what was going on on stage. For example, when the character of Hope would come out. She was one of the main characters. She came out a lot and her name was said a a lot. Every time they said the name “Hope” the lights would flash to reflect what was going on on stage. I thought that was a really neat touch.
Mike: I would say that Urinetown would be appropriate for high schoolers and older. The potty humor that exists throughout the show could be a distraction for less mature audiences. But I think you’ll enjoy the show. Go see it. It’s at the Kensington Arts Theatre through November 18th.
Laura: I really enjoyed this show, too because I think there are a lot of deep meanings in the show and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it also. So feel free to leave a comment.
Mike: And now, on with the show.
Photos provided by Kensington Arts Theatre.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1811.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.