Urinetown – a Watcher’s Review

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I’m KK, I’m in Year 10 at Windermere School and spent a week on work placement at Kendal College in June. On Wednesday 14th June, I went to watch the dress rehearsal/tech run-through of Urinetown at the Brewery Arts Centre with my drama GCSE class from Windermere School. Before we went, I hadn’t heard much about the show and really didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard little things as my friend knew many people in the show and had heard that it would be sad at points, serious at others but overall is an enjoyable, fun to watch and thought provoking show.

With these initial thoughts in mind, our class really didn’t know what to expect and felt quite optimistic when we took our seats. From the opening scene, we were hooked.

The opening was performed well, as the audience have quite a funny introduction to the storyline and characters; the idea of it being a ‘privilege to pee’ seemed almost unbelievable. The unique show opening was really interesting as the character Officer Lockstock (played by Lewis Hill) began by addressing the audience as the narrator. This brought the audience into the story as Officer Lockstock knew we were there and that a musical was being performed, he was more like one of us rather than his character. This was quite comical and did entice the audience in as we felt like part of the production. He was then joined by Little Sally (Eva Clifton) who began to say little hints about what’s to come which again drew us in. The dynamic between these two characters was so free and natural that it really didn’t look like a college performance but a professional show. The set behind the characters added to this effect, the amount of levels and different parts to the set and detail was amazing.

The beginning song which consisted of the whole cast was brilliant. The costume showed the clear divide between the rich and the poor and really let the actors express their characters. The set itself with all the different levels and elements also represented this well. With the Cladwell workers above the base level of the stage on a rise and the poor on the base level all hunched over and in ragged clothes really showed this divide. The cast were all connected in some way, which really intensified how professional the show seemed to us; the power in their voices when singing was amazing also. Everything was just  brilliant and really great to see and inspire us for our upcoming exam.

Something that was really endearing was how the actors/actresses were able to change their characters depending on the situation or change how they played their characters’ in different scenes. For example, Georgie Buckland (playing Hope) was able to change her character depending on who she was interacting with. When Hope and Bobby Strong (Calum McElroy) had their scene on the street at night, Hope had to act excited and in love – almost quite mischievous – and the chemistry between the two was exciting to whiteness. However, when Hope was with her father (Mr Cladwell played by Jolyon Stephenson) Georgie acted more reserved and childlike in a way because it was her father. Jolyon also managed to do this but change between the way he addressed his daughter and his staff. Cladwell and Hope worked well together and the father daughter bond really showed towards us an audience… this obviously all changed when Hope basically killed her father. Many of the cast did this throughout the production and it was really great to witness. It also made me, as someone who’s interested in performing arts, think of ways to improve my performances and take notes from them for the future.

The production element that really brought the show together was of course the backstage crew. The lighting, sound and set design were flawless. The lighting really helped to set the mood with smooth transitions and a variety of colour to depict the different moods happening within the show. Something that I haven’t seen much of in shows is the use of projection. This worked really effectively in Urinetown and allowed the audience to experience another type of theatre, in a way, and added more detail to their piece. The set design here was incredible. The amount of detail that students had put into this creation was really quite something. As soon as our group entered the theatre it was the first thing we all noticed and commented on. This let us know that the production would be good and exciting to watch.

Overall, this production was amazing to say the least. It was truly inspiring for us, since we are all drama students, it really showed to us what you can do in terms of performance if you push yourself. It also showed us that if you push yourself and try new things then anything can look professional. It’s hard to imagine that they finished this in just 8 weeks to such a high standard. We can’t wait for other productions in the future.


Click here to read Birte and KK’s review of the ‘Open Studio’ exhibition.

Click here to read their blog about their time on work experience.

If KK has prompted an interest in Performing Arts (covering singing, dancing & acting) and/or Theatre & Events Technology (covering sound & light engineering, set design & stage management) @ Kendal College, we offer a fantastic range of courses. Start your future on our website.

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