Earlier in this 2013/14 theatrical season, Mount Baker Wild drama performed the classic “Our Town.” Tonight, Thursday, May 8, the Wild pass through the looking glass to take on the dark side of our town — “Urinetown.”
“Urinetown” is almost an anti-musical — it’s a dark satire, a parody, a hallucinatory “West Side Story.” It is also an enormous amount of fun, a romping good story, a great dark comedy and a fantastic musical. It tackles the subjects of capitalist oppression, revolutionary buffoonry, municipal politics, sustainability (!) and that most unmentionable of subjects — the restroom line-up.
We find ourselves in a world suffering from a 20-year drought, where a megacorporation, Urine Good Company (UGC), headed up by the nefarious Caldwell B. Cladwell, controls all water usage. Imagine that — a world where one must pay to relieve oneself in corporate controlled facilities, where going behind the bushes, for example, results in harsh punishment from a gestapo-like police force, controlled, of course, by Cladwell and the UGC, and all his many minions. The punishment? Banishment to Urinetown. What is Urinetown? No one knows for sure — some strange penal colony. “It’s power is in its mystery.”
The state government is in cahoots with UGC, of course, so when new extreme urinal fee hikes are legislated, a groundswell of resistance begins, led by our hero Bobby Strong, a young sincere man with freedom on his mind. The forces of oppression, with all its hilarious wickedness, tangle with the forces of resistance, with all their goofy foibles. Their battles are conducted with great music and song and irresistible dance numbers, and focused on who has Cladwell’s daughter Hope in custody.
The show is somewhat narrated by Officer Lockstock, who as well as explaining the basic structure of musicals and key plot points to the audience also performs the extreme acts of oppression as the head of police.
Written by Greg Kotis, scored by Mark Hollman and directed by Mary Hamilton, “Urinetown” runs Thursday, May 8, through Sunday, May 11, at the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Friday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Justice Jones (as Bobby Strong), Danica Martin (Hope Cladwell), Carter Gulseth (Caldwell B. Cladwell), Zoe Dupley (Penelope Pennywise), Emma Schraepel (Little Sally), David Webb (Officer Lockstock), Nolan Ackert (Hot Blades Harry), Katie Elder (Little Becky Two Shoes), Dawson Rutledge (Officer Barrel).
Dean Panttaja (lighting), Siona Jackson (choreography), Mary Hamilton (stage direction), Scott Martin (musical direction). Set design and construction- are by Dave Hill, and costumes by Penny Medig.