Has there ever been a more intriguing title for a musical than “Urinetown?” Probably not, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons it will have a successful run in Madera after Thursday night’s hilarious opening.
From beginning to end the Madera South Theatre production is sharp, smart, funny, and even a tad disturbing, all of which brought enthusiasm from the audience on opening night as it warmed to this somewhat daring show.
The action is set in “Any Town, USA,” where years of drought have led to the banning of private toilet facilities. Instead, the people have to pay a hefty price to relieve themselves in public bathrooms.
The play opens with a welcome from Officer Lockstock (Joe Garza) as he explains why the line of distressed people are fidgeting behind him as they wait to use the public restroom, “Amenity Number Nine.” He is assisted by Officer Barrel (Ryan Contino) who has a surprising secret.
The cast of “Urinetown” passionately puts nearly every segment of society on the point of a very sharp satirical spear. Caldwell B. Cladwell (Darren Crawford) portrays Corporate greed as he cooks up a deal with Senator Fipp (Avery Pendley), and her assistant (Jesse Moreno) to place his organization, Urine Good Company (UGC) in charge of water consumption and consequently all of the public restroom facilities.
Dashing Bobby Strong (Eric Martin), who works with Miss Pennywise (Jacqueline Castro) as custodian at the poorest, most filthy urinal in town. eventually becomes a romantic hero who falls in love with Hope Cladwell (Christina Bustos) and leads a revolution against her father after his own father, “Old Man Strong” (Juan Garibay) urinates on the street and is taken to “Urinetown.”
With that, Little Sally (Tamara Williams), a very smart street urchin, begins to unfold the logic of the play as she figures out that “Urinetown” is not really a place, but something much more draconian.
As the people revolt for the right to “pee for free,” Mrs. McQueen (Brianne Rey) stands by Mr. Cladwell while Ma Strong (Tara Harford) supports her son, Bobby but is unable to save his life.
What makes the entire show so special is the delightful parody of everything, even musicals. The characters keep springing surprises right to the end and valiantly avoid a sappy, sentimental conclusion that the plot seems to promise. “Urinetown” is officially a production of Madera South Theatre Company and is performed by an on-stage student cast of 38 with 12 behind the scene stage hands. Ginger Latimer directs the play with the assistance of 10 adults, most of whom are former students.
“Urinetown” continues its run through today and from Wednesday through April 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday performance is at 2 p.m.
Admission for reserved seating is $12, adults $10, and $7 for students. A student rush price of $5 has been set for Wednesday.
The theatre is at Madera South High School, 705 W. Pecan Ave.