A review of Urinetown at the St James Theatre
Urinetown ran for three years on Broadway, largely thanks to a cult following inspired by its tongue-in-cheek lampooning of corporate greed and environmental excess. And at last it has made it to London, in a new production at the St James Theatre that does more than justice to the original.
Jamie Lloyd’s direction and Soutra Gilmour’s design work perfectly together, wringing out every last drop of satirical humour from a musical that leaps head and shoulders above many other recent new musicals in town.
Jenna Russell consistently stands out as an actress at the absolute top of her game (her Olivier award nomination this week for Merrily We Roll Along is case in point), and delivers an entertaining performance as toilet gatekeeper Penelope Pennywise. What that woman can do whilst dangling a fag out of her mouth should win her an Olivier Award all by itself, and her performance sets her up nicely to tackle Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd at some point very soon.
Richard Fleeshman is, besides being VERY HOT, a passionate and charming leading man as Bobby, although did feel a bit underpowered at times – particularly up against newcomer Rosanna Hyland as Hope Cladwell, who has the voice and acting skills to match most current West End stars.
A hugely entertaining night at the theatre – just make sure you go before you go. A West End transfer is surely being planned as we speak.