Glasgow based Royal Conservatoire are now in their 11th year of performing in the Fringe with their masters level students and Urinetown is one of this year's offerings from them.
A thoroughly well understood, well constructed and beautifully performed show.
The musical itself, written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Lotus is rather a strange idea, but one that works incredibly well. Set in a fictional town where after many years of drought there is a severe lack of water, this show tells the tale of what it's like to lose the privilege to pee. As the people of the town struggle to afford the costly public urinals but face getting arrested for peeing elsewhere this place needs a hero, and the story of Bobby Strong comes to life. He decides that no longer should they have to struggle for their human rights. Then, when the clean cut daughter of the corrupt CEO of the town's water company decides that maybe she doesn't like how her dad is doing things either, she and Bobby form an immediate bond as they lead the town into revolt. By putting the whole story within a satirical musical send up, this show is as funny as it is enjoyable.
What's amazing about this cast is the completeness of them. It's not that there's no 'weak link' it's more that there are just 22 incredibly strong ones. Each and every individual on the stage is engaging and enthusiastic and the whole venue hummed with the energy of new talent. Their ensemble singing was utterly flawless, with a rich quality of sound I've not heard from some professional casts. Harmonies were beautifully balanced as voices complimented each other and individuals understood how to be part of the whole. Simple but very slick choreography added a load of fun and energy, with some slightly more complex sections giving some of the cast a chance to really stretch their wings.
Special mention has to go to Canadian born Alicia Barban as Hope Cladwellwho had an understanding for her character that turned her into something both utterly charming and brilliantly funny at the same time. She played her role with such integrity and really developed the role into something special. Graham Richardson and Shannon Thurston also stood out, with exceptional performances from both.
A thoroughly well understood, well constructed and beautifully performed show. As good a piece of musical theatre as you are ever likely to see.