Constellation Theatre Company’s Urinetown is a delightful surprise — and not a completely unexpected one, given the company’s track record, including last year’s dazzling adults-only puppet-fest, Avenue Q. Several notable actors from Avenue Q return to the fold, competently led by director Allison Arkell Stockman, but two new recruits are standouts: The charismatic, commanding Niklas Aliff as chief evildoer Cladwell and, the beautifully voiced Katie Keyser, a natural heroine, as his daughter, Hope.
Written by Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis, Urinetown is a self-aware, self-referential modern musical, full of witty wordplay and smart humor surrounding a water shortage that makes private toilets a thing for the rich. Everyone else is relegated to using filthy public toilets or paying a fee. Naturally, unrest ensues and the police are marshalled. Call it, bladder control.
As Officer Lockstock, Matt Dewberry also serves as the show’s narrator. He’s joined by the mesmerizing Jenna Berk as Little Sally, full of childlike wonder and adult wisdom in the uproarious satire of power, corruption, capitalism and musical comedy. “It’s an awful title,” Little Sally says of the show’s name. It is awful — though memorable — and there’s nothing even remotely awful about Constellation’s production. You have to go.
Urinetown runs to Oct. 9 at Source, 1835 14th St. NW. Tickets are $25 to $50. Call 202-204-7760 or visit constellationtheatre.org.
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