Previewed 29 September 2014, Opened 7 October 2014, Closed 10 January 2015 at the Apollo Theatre in London
The smash hit new musical Urinetown in London's West End for a four month season - following a sell-out season at the St James Theatre in Victoria, London.
A sharp-witted riot of a musical show tells the tale of a town fit to burst; spending a penny can prove problematic in a place where the privilege to pee has become a punishable offence. There is no such thing as rent free relief until our young hero, Bobby Strong, appears - with more than a good set of pipes - and starts a revolution! Sometimes all you need is a drop of a hope to change the world.
This production transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed sell-out season at the St James Theatre in Victoria, London earlier this year. Reprising their roles for the West End run will be Jenna Russell as 'Penelope Pennywise' (up to 29 November 2014) and Jonathan Slinger as 'Officer Lockstock'. Joining the cast from 1 December 2014 will be Phill Jupitus in the role of 'Caldwell B. Cladwell'. Please note all casting is subject to change without notice. Music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann and book and lyrics by Greg Kotis, this production is directed by Jamie Lloyd with choreography by Ann Yee, designs by Soutra Gilmour, lighting by Adam Silverman and sound by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster. Jamie Lloyd's recent West End credits include Shakespeare's Richard III (Trafalgar Studios 2014), Harold Pinter's The Hothouse (Trafalgar Studios 2013), Shakespeare's Macbeth (Trafalgar Studios 2013), Alexi Kaye Campbell's Pride (Trafalgar Studios 2013) and John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic Theatre 2012).
When this production opened at the West End's Apollo Theatre in October 2014 Fiona Mountford writing in the London Evening Standard highlighted that director "Jamie Lloyd offers a sparky production full of notable ensemble pizzazz that revels in the piece's gleeful self-referentiality... The songs are a tuneful treat too, offering a skilful pastiche of a range of musical styles." Sam Marlowe in the Times thought "it's difficult to imagine how it could be better done than in Jamie Lloyd's staging, which is pungent, exuberantly lurid and performed with such glee that you can almost ignore the distinct whiff of self-satisfaction... the whole cast skilfully walks the fine line of revelling in the numbers and delivering them with a big wink." Simon Edge in the Daily Express said the "show that seems to expect us to love it for its taboo-busting daring rather than what they've done with the idea... As a satire on the privatisation of public utilities this is a fair conceit for a sketch but it struggles to sustain a whole show... A gory, unsatisfying resolution sums up the show's aimlessness." Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph wrote that "the show takes the pee out of hammy conventions, corny lines and cheesy sentimentality in ways that themselves look yellow and stale... the company of 21 toil like crazy to turn this vaguely acidic but watery musical into gold."
When this production originally opened at the St James Theatre Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being "sharp, smart, funny and disturbing... the show keeps springing surprises to the end, and rigorously eschews the sentimental happy ending the cunning story line seems to be promising. Indeed the off-putting title strikes me as the only serious misjudgment of this darkly entertaining and exceptionally sharp show." Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that "while it's not flawless, it has a welcome satirical bounce." Paul Taylor in the Independent said that "despite the terrific attack and infectious zest with which the splendid cast communicate the material in Jamie Lloyd's UK premiere, the show rarely feels as funny or as penetrating as it cracks itself up to be." Dominic Maxwell in the Times described how "Jamie Lloyd's production renders it all in jaw-droppingly high production values. His large, gifted cast perform songs that are smart pastiches of everything from Chicago to Les Mis, from Weill to Sondheim." Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard wrote that "though it sounds like the stuff of a misguided student skit, Urinetown boasts a truly gleeful inventiveness. And under the guise of being a show about passing water, it actually serves up a vision of ecological disaster."
"There is mild pleasure to be gained from the disparity between the sombre subject matter and its Broadway sugar-coating, as well as two powerful gospel-accented songs in the second act, but Jamie Lloyd, a director not noted for subtlety, overloads the production with a tiresome mixture of cheap theatrics and crude artifice. Meanwhile, an exuberant cast labours under the misapprehension that mugging and caricature are engaging when performed tongue-in-cheek." The Express on Sunday
"Urinetown started life on the New York fringe in 1999, went on to Broadway, where it ran for three years and won three Tonys, and now arrives over here, directed by Jamie Lloyd. It's an extended lavatory joke that's also a satire on American corporate capitalism, which is hardly a daring or original target... The ending, though, is grimly satisfying. The ultimate villains of the piece aren't the CEOs and the megacorps. Because who actually used up all the water? Us. We did. As with every other environmental problem or disaster now facing us, there are seven billion perpetrators and, cleverly playing dual roles, seven billion victims." The Sunday Times
The musical Urinetown in London at the Apollo Theatre previewed from 29 September 2014, opened on 7 October 2014 and closed on 10 January 2015.