Urinetown sprays satirical quirks

A knockout cast was the highlight of Xavier Theatre’s latest stage production

Photo courtesy of Twitter | Xavier Theatre’s production of Urinetown was presented this past weekend. The satirical comedy chronicles a town in which private toilets are banned and people are charged to use the restroom, all to conserve water.

When it comes to Xavier Theatre, you always know urine for something special. The program has a great habit of choosing punchy shows that are also embedded with deep and current themes. Urinetown is no different.

The satirical comedy is set in a world plagued by a drought where the government has chosen to conserve water by banning private toilets and charging people to use the restroom. The absurd title and premise are met with an equally kooky cast of characters who hammer home critiques on capitalism, corrupt leaders and the legal system, as well as poke fun at tropes of Broadway musicals.

The show opens with a welcome from Elliot Auch as Officer Lockstock. Auch absolutely crushed the role of the self-aware and sarcastic police officer. The first-year gave a knockout performance of his quirky, animated character with great pacing and delivery that easily made him a fan favorite. Auch’s right-hand (wo)man, Officer Barrell, played by sophomore Ellie Deutsch, was equally adored by the audience and proved to be a true gem. Deutsch tore up the stage using her wild dance moves, and her firm grip on comedic timing had the crowd cackling throughout the entire show. Auch and Deutsch both shined in their duet “Cop Song.”

The amazing cast continued with junior Claire McCreave as Penelope Pennywise. Even with intense choreography and movement, McCreave’s outstanding vocal performance never wavered. McCreave’s performance was incredibly spirited, and I hope to see her develop more nuance in even her quirkiest characters as she continues her time at Xavier.

Even as a latecomer to the theatre program, Josh Carandang held his ground as the wide-eyed and fearless Bobby Strong. Having seen Carandang in a few shows, it’s not hard to see that the natural actor has garnered a great attention to subtlety in the roles he plays, with marvelous vocals to match. Carandang and first-year Julia Olinger as Hope Cladwell had a sweet and charming dynamic on stage that boosted both of their comedic performances, and Olinger’s vocals were effortlessly beautiful.

I was excited to see sophomore Dylan Van Camp back on the musical stage as the greedy and remorseless Mr. Cladwell after his performance in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Van Camp brought a magnetic stage presence and commitment to his characters that made me forget I was watching an actor perform.

Urinetown’s cast was met with equally excellent lighting design and choreography. During Bobby’s flashbacks to Old Man Strong (played by first-year Dylan O’Leary) being arrested for public urination, the timing and dramatization of the spooky lighting and sound effects were a perfect touch to the satirical moment. Urinetown’s choreography was also top notch. Even rows away, the blocking was sharp and dynamic and had me frantically scribbling in my notebook as I tried to watch the entire stage so I didn’t miss a beat.

While Urinetown was not quite my cup of tea because of some of its more annoying characters and ultimately depressing conclusion, Xavier Theatre’s execution of the performance was excellent. With many knockout cast members, dynamic storytelling and commitment to craft, any Xavier production is a privilege to see.

By: Hannah Paige Michels | Staff Writer