A terrible 20-year drought has crippled Urinetown's water supplies and water is so scarce that the government has enforced a ban on all private toilets in an effort to control water consumption.
The citizens must now use the public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company - a private malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell. Citizens who try to circumvent the peeing-fee by relieving themselves in the bushes risk being taken away to 'Urinetown', a mysterious place where many have been sent but no one ever returns.
The oppressed masses huddle in line at the poorest, filthiest urinal in town, Public Amenity #9. This is run by the rigid, harshly authoritarian Penelope Pennywise and her assistant, dashing young rebel Bobby Strong. With fee increases in the pipeline, the poor rise up under the leadership of Bobby to fight the tyrannical regime for the right to make the public amenities free for all to use.
Originally produced on Broadway in September 2001, local theatre company and regular at the Unity Theatre What We Did Next brings Urinetown to Liverpool. This company is used to big musicals, with previous shows such as Carousel (2014) and The Last 5 Years (2011) under its belt.
There is plenty packed into this two act show which is narrated by Officer Lockstock played by Shaun Holdom-Eyles. Alongside Amy Murphy who plays Little Sally these two became firm favourites with the audience. The script is full of punchy one-liners and with Holdom-Eyles cool cop character and Murphy's charming Little Sally there was plenty of giggles from the audience.
Stand out vocals belong to Jak Malone and Franki Burke who share some beautiful harmonies as the two lovers - Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell. Burke in particular plays her part well as the straight man, always the hardest role but her comic timing is just as perfect as her vocals. Although a tongue in cheek kind of show, all the numbers are choreographed very well and vocals are strong which leads to a very good production.
Director Phil Briss has done well to incorporate a five-piece band and the plethora of characters and although at times it does seem a bit of a squeeze to get everyone on stage, designer Laura Lomax has done well to incorporate different levels into the set. Limited props and few costume changes mean speedy scene changes and Musical Director Jonas Tattersall produces the excellent score.
What We Did Next Theatre Company's ethos is 'to produce great theatre for and by the community of Liverpool'. Great theatre it certainly is and a show well worth going to see.