Getting relief at ‘Urinetown’

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By Sandra Diaz

Officer Lockstock (Cottrell) tells Little Sally (Struxness) the woesome tale that is ‘Urinetown.’ (Jodi Julian)

By Sandra Diaz

The happiest sad story you’ll see on the stage.

Three-time Tony Award winning satire “Urinetown: The Musical” came to Riverside Oct. 25-28 in the Landis Performing Arts Center.

The play was directed by Jodi Julian, an associate professor of theater arts in the performing arts department.

“Urinetown: The Musical” is a story about a town, much like any other ordinary town, that while trying to solve their issues concerning a water shortage, have regulated how much its citizens use water by making it illegal to pee wherever they want. Instead they have to pay to use the bathroom.

If you refused to obey the law then you would be sent to a place called Urinetown.

The story is narrated by Officer Lockstock, played by Shane Cottrell. Cottrell’s performance as Officer Lockstock was at times lighthearted and playful by speaking to the audience almost as if he is letting them in on an inside joke. Then all of a sudden, he is completely involved with the story.

Cottrell’s delivery was funny while strikingly terrifying at the same time.

Then there is Officer Barrell (David Lee), Lockstock’s affectionate, loony partner.

Often the comic counterweight to Cottrell’s straight man, Lee’s performance as Officer Barrell was outlandish and took the idea of partners in a different direction, much to the dismay of Lockstock.

Officer Lockstock wasn’t the only character that could jump in and out of the story though.

Amy Struxness’ portrayal of Little Sally, an innocent little girl from the city, was dead-on as a child who liked to ask a lot of questions that would often times produce difficult answers.

Struxness was not only believable as a child with too many questions, but also a hilarious pick-me-up for the story’s heavy undertone.

Morgan Reynolds and Sallie Griffin co-starred as Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell, the story’s ill-fated lovers.

Morgan Reynolds’ performance of Bobby Strong, the story’s main character and the heroic rebel leader of the resistance, was simple and strong.

Not the most comedic member of the cast, Reynolds played a character thats prime objective was not about getting laughs, but building up Sallie Griffin’s character Hope.

Hope Cladwell, the daughter of shrewd business man Cladwell B. Cladwell (Kevin Taylor), is the quintessential cliché of the optimistic heroine and Griffin delivers all that and more in a natural, flawless way.

Griffin never faltered or broke her role of the helplessly and hopelessly optimistic girl that believes she can honestly make a difference for the good of the people (although at times you wished she would break character just to prove it was all just a joke).

Cladwell’s gang, a handful of people that run the city, consisted of Penelope Pennywise (Jennifer Lawson), Mr. McQueen (Jordan Maxwell), and Senator Fipp (Turner Munch).

On stage together, Lawson, Maxwell, and Munch, along with Taylor’s Cladwell formed a zany, elite core of the corrupt government of the city. They played off each other well, often building on a joke through numerous scenes.

All in all, “Urinetown” was an enjoyable play about love, secrets and, yes, urine that could have happened anywhere, even your hometown.

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