Words: 0 (but as I said, Friday is NaNoWrimo day so I was expecting to have anything written today)
Today I went to see the matinee of ‘Urinetown’ at the Apollo Theatre. I originally had tickets when it was at the St James Theatre but because of various circumstances, I ended up having to pass the ticket off to a friend. ‘Urinetown’ has been one of those odd little shows which has been on my radar ever since I was back home studying technical theatre at college (and back when I still liked musicals). I remember reading about it on the old Phantom of the Opera forums at she.net, then somehow I got hold of the cast recording (possibly through the early P2P sites…where someone would have a list and you’d trade them through the post…lots of bootlegs ;)).
I was fascinated by the idea of a meta-musical, and at the time it was my first exposure to such a thing. I would browse the Dress Circle website for hours, occasionally looking fondly on Tower Records (I think it was) who seemed to have all these obscure musicals I was just desperate to hear. One of my first trips on arrival in London (2002) was to the Dress Circle shop where I bought a copy of ‘Avenue Q’ and my musical theatre wishlist promptly became all about ‘Avenue Q’ and ‘Urinetown’.
I got my wish with ‘Avenue Q’.
Never thought I’d see ‘Urinetown’.
It’s a very, very good show and it’s been staged brilliantly. The cast were all fabulous (although I have my doubts over Officer Lockstock’s accent), the set was beautiful and I rather liked the lighting – they could have benefited from followspots though, there were scenes I were I was just aching to put a nice tight head shot on people (that sounds wrong if you’re not a followspot…sorry). Anyway, the theatre had about 80 people in it. Very disappointing for the cast and it’s a show which deserves a bigger audience but one of the biggest problems the show has is it’s not a West End show.
‘Urinetown’ was born on the fringe. It’s very much a fringe musical and I think by putting it in a commercial West End theatre it’s killed the show. It was a hit at the St James Theatre and they clearly thought that the audiences would be the same, they’re not. People going to the West End fringe are going because they want something not offered in the West End, those shows are not the ones the tourists are looking to see.