A hysterical and satirical send-up about greed, love, revolution and bathroom habits – and even musicals themselves – is the latest offering from Melville Theatre.
Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis and directed by Craig Griffen, the Tony Award-winning Urinetown follows janitor Bobby Strong and the rest of the city’s poorest citizens, who struggle to pay the fees needed to go to the bathroom.
They find inspiration and a spark of hope that leads them to rebel against the ruling class and egocentric CEO that lord it over the city.
“It’s a side-splitting story that uses humour and wit to touch on some very important and current social issues but never strays too far from its humorous driving force,” Griffen said.
“Although the plot sounds quite dark and ponderous, the show uses the clichés of the musical art form to keep the show bright, slick and ultimately hysterical.
“As Urinetown is set in a fictionalised future where the world has been in a serious drought for more than 20 years and private bathrooms have been non-existent for almost that long, we had to work very hard to on how to depict the world the story takes place in.
“We decided to go back to the script and let the story and characters really speak to us and dictate how the show should be presented.
“What resulted is a show with a Brechtian feel that also has influences from the world of classic and modern musical theatre and some sci-fi elements – an equally outrageous combination to match an outrageous show.”
Involved in theatre from age 10, Griffen first appeared on stage in WA in Hairspray and The Wizard of Oz at the Koorliny Arts Centre – and was named “best other than a lead male in a musical” for both roles at the annual Finley Awards.
He has worked as a director, production designer, producer and behind the scenes for Fresh Bred Productions on Closer, The Last Five Years, Spring Awakening and Sweeney Todd.
Most recently, Griffen made a cameo appearance as Chef Louis in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
“Urinetown appealed because I was inspired by its combination of musical theatre, satire, tragedy and wit,” he said.
“It really is one of the most absurd and hysterical scripts I have ever read – and the musical score even more so.
“There is no way to listen to the fantastic, quirky score, combined with the witty and often ridiculous lyrics, and not be grinning from ear-to-ear.
“The show is also one I knew would be ripe for visual re-imagining and, together with a passionate and talented cast, knew we could create a fresh, exciting and slick production that will have audiences rolling in the aisles.”
Urinetown plays at 8pm July 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21 with a 2pm matinee July 15. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book on 9330 4565 or at www.meltheco.org.au. Please note the show contains mature themes.
Melville Theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
urinetown1: Shanee Osborne, left, Kairen Thorpe and Erin Craddock are appearing in the musical Urinetown. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson
urinetown2: Urinetown features Bert Goldsmith, left, as Officer Lockstock, Kairen Thorpe as Bobby Strong and Erin Craddock as Little Sally. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson
urinetown3: Kairen Thorpe, centre, is the rebellious visionary and plumber Bobby Strong in Urinetown with Shanee Osborne as jaded urinal warden Ms Penelope Pennywise and Erin Craddock as the wise-beyond-her-years street urchin Little Sally. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson
urinetown4: Zany street urchin Little Sally (Erin Craddock, left) gets to the point with Officer Lockstock (Bert Goldsmith) in Urinetown. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson
The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.
As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.
Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.