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Tuesday 16 May 2017

Review: Urinetown The Musical at Brighton Little Theatre

Twenty years of drought have made the use of private toilets verboten in this dystopian satire - poor people have to pay to pee in corporation-controlled urinals - and woe betide anyone who disobeys.
Photo by Miles Davies

Narrator Officer Lockstock (Tony Bright) and street urchin Little Sally (Elsie Lovelock) are our guides through this unappealing future. We meet a succession of low-life characters at Public Amenity No 9, including its manager, Penelope Pennywise played with brio and a sensational voice by Katy Markey (also responsible for the fluid - and where necessary hilarious - choreography). 

The story unfolds, and we soon meet the politically-entangled baddies of the piece - but to give too much away would be to spoil it. Needless to say, with a self-proclaimed "dreadful title" like Urinetown, the story doesn't have a particularly happy ending.

Musical conventions are gently (or not so gently) skewered and parodied throughout the show, but the songs (and especially the lyrics) are on-point even at their most parodic; the cast deliver and then some - the ensemble singing in the bijou space of the Brighton Little Theatre is gorgeous.

It's unfair to single cast members out but highlights for me were the aforementioned Elsie Lovelock, Tony Bright and Katy Markey; the upright and unhinged Caldwell (played by Neil Sellman) nursing a bunny-metaphor obsession (don't ask) and planning his escape to Rio; everyman character Bobby (Ollie Wray) and the charming Hope (Ellie Earl) as the hero and heroine of the piece. 

Emily Hardy and Ernest Stroud play twisted nutcases from a parallel West Side Story and Hari Johnson's hilariously over the top turn as Caldwell"s prancing toady also get a special mention for being hilarious.

The set, sound and lighting are, as always at Brighton Little, superb (as are the band, led by Musical Director Gary Nock). Costumes, make up and wigs are spot on. Director Louis Craig (who also helmed the wonderful production of "A Little Night Music" at Brighton Little) should be rightly proud of this inspired production - the hard work is right there on the stage.

Hopefully after this review you"ll be bursting to go - so get yourself a ticket and find some relief at Brighton Little Theatre, until 20th May 2017. CLICK HERE for more info.

by: Gary Cook




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