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Urinetown at Melville Theatre

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Truly terrific musical with a truly terrible name
Urinetown, Melville Theatre, musical, comedy, play, performing arts, Tony Award, humour
Shanee Osborne, left, Kairen Thorpe and Erin Craddock are appearing in the musical Urinetown. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson


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," Craig said. "Although the plot sounds quite dark and ponderous, the show uses the clich้s of the musical art form to keep the show bright, slick and ultimately hysterical.

Urinetown, Melville Theatre, musical, comedy, play, performing arts, Tony Award, humour
Some of the cast of Urinetown: Bert Goldsmith, Shanee Osborne, Grace Johnson and Kairen Thorpe. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson

"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."

Urinetown, Melville Theatre, musical, comedy, play, performing arts, Tony Award, humour
Urinetown features Bert Goldsmith, left, as Officer Lockstock, Kairen Thorpe as Bobby Strong and Erin Craddock as Little Sally. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson


Involved in theatre from age 10, Craig 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, Craig 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, Melville Theatre, musical, comedy, play, performing arts, Tony Award, humour
Zany street urchin Little Sally (Erin Craddock, left) gets to the point with Officer Lockstock (Bert Goldsmith) in Urinetown. Picture: Hannah Fredriksson


Erin Craddock plays Little Sally, a character she describes as a "wise-beyond-her-years, slightly zany street urchin". "She joins the other poor people in going up against the rich and also helps narrate the show, which is a lot of fun," she said.

"Constantly maintaining Little Sally's child-like energy when you are nearly 25 is interesting, after having played older characters in my past few shows. It's also turning into a very physical part to play – both with physical comedy and dance, I definitely need to get my fitness up!"

Urinetown, Melville Theatre, musical, comedy, play, performing arts, Tony Award, humour
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


Involved in theatre since 2013, Erin has performed with the Koorliny Arts Centre and Playlovers, Stirling, Midnite Youth and Melville Theatres. "I've owned the soundtrack to Urinetown for years and the music is so full of energy," she said. "I'd seen other productions directed by Craig Griffen before which were of such high quality – and Little Sally has been a dream role of mine for a few years – so I couldn't not audition."

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.

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Why? It’s flush with humour, puns and engaging songs, creating a darkly humorous musical that truly understands what satire is.
When: 8pm July 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 & 21; 2pm July 15
Phone: 9330 4565
Where: Melville Theatre, corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra
Cost: $25, $20 concession
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