a kate west review
music & lyrics by Mark Hollmann; book & lyrics by Greg Kotis
directed by
John Rando
at the Wilshire Theatre

8440 Wilshire Blvd., east of La Cienga, Beverly Hills
Running through
May 23, 2004; call (323) 468-1770 now!
or visit www.BroadwayLA.org

The Tony-award winning Broadway hit, “Urinetown,” a spectacularly original fun new show, has finally arrived in
Los Angeles direct from New York City for oh, too short a time. From Chicago’s hip theatre scene, Mark Hoffmann and Greg Kotis collaborated to invent an unusual story about water shortage, of all things. And with characters like Officers Lockstock and Barrel, you know you’re in for a fun ride.

Scenic Designer Scott Pask creates the first startling impression with his stark, metallic grey set, made up of prison walkways and roving spotlights (thank Light Designer Brian MacDevitt). Cast members also occasionally use flashlights to create a semi-ominous atmosphere. Director John Rando’s inspired blocking (stage movement) keeps the action moving quickly and the choreography is equally wonderful.

The story revolves around two star-crossed lovers: wistful Hope Cladwell (the lyrically beautiful Christiane Noll) and heroically handsome Bobby Strong (the delightful Charlie Pollock) trapped in an uncompromising town where everyone must pay to use a restroom. Hence the odd title “Urinetown.” Tragically, Hope is the only daughter of the tyrannical Caldwell B. Cladwell (Ron Holgate) who has the poor in a vice-grip of evil. Bobby is the leader of the underground revolution demanding free toilets and an ample water supply.

Not to give away plot points, but this union cannot end well.

We eventually discover that Urinetown is actually a euphemism for discarding the unwanted (i.e. killing the poor). Recounting these important plot details, Jeff McCarthy is a definite standout as Officer Lockstock, also acting as the Narrator. His expansive method and side winks at the front row fit in perfectly with the fantastically peculiar style of the show. His sidekick, the adorable Meghan Strange as perky Little Sally, helps to move the plot along, including the audience in scores of inside jokes. The entire cast is quite strong (Christiane Noll is like a young Madeline Kahn) and the entire production is blissfully entertaining, especially the second act.

Highly recommended as great fun, a good night and the newest hot ticket in town.

Get the Soundtrack:

Urinetown (2001 Original Off-Broadway Cast)

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