Review- Urinetown- TheatreLab HK


By Faith Lawson



TheatreLab HK proudly presents their first public project, "Urinetown: The Musical", in one of Hong Kong's most sought after performance venues: the McAulay Studio. This seven-performance run of "Urinetown:The Musical" hails from musical theatre royalty. It originally opened on Broadway in 2001
and ran for almost a thousand performances. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won three, for Best Book, Best Original Score, and Best Direction of a Musical.

The premise of the story focuses on an unnamed city  that dealt with the harsh realities of water scarcity. After suffering many years from drought, the water crisis escalates and it is met with drastic conservation measures set into play by city officials. As a result, Legislation denies ownership of individual toilets to citizens. Instead, all citizens must use a public amenity and are required to pay for the privilege; violators of the pay-to-pee law can“put that in their toilet and flush it", or face the ultimate punishment, banishment to Urinetown.

The play's premise is perhaps not quite as far-fetched as it might initially seem. Water and the lack of it is a current issue that is prevalent in many cities and countries worldwide. Could it be that the day will come when pay-to-pee becomes an issue of global perspective?

The Story is set near Public Amenity # 9, in a poor section of town inhabited by many who, down and out, gather daily as they wait to be granted access to pee, legally. If they don’t have enough money, they beg for help from others. If that fails and they are apprehended in illegal activity, they are subject to criminal charges and possible imprisonment. Or worse, exile to Urinetown.

TheatreLab Hk's simplistic yet clever set design is imaginatively quirky, and favorable in the way it frames this slapstick musical. This is highlighted by a cleverly color coded costume concept that clearly reinforces the us vs. them scenario, with the impoverished lower-class citizens clothed in
wretched attire, while the upper-class members displayed their wealth in their choice of fashionable and tailored attire.

The show features disturbingly endearing dance and movement choreography that will have audiences laughing out loud and clapping their hands in adulation. The music by Mark Hollmann, with lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, was played live by an excellent band that was charming, from start to finish. Unfortunately, the musicians were not fully visible on stage, which occasionally detracted from their ability to fully captivate the audience. Despite a few tumultuous moments when the band playing and
the actors singing butted heads, one overpowering over the other, there were a few redeemable song numbers in particular that showcased the undeniable hidden talent of Hong Kong's musical theatre artists.

Additionally, the talented cast of actors do a wonderful job of adding flair to the oh so very "colourful” characters in this story. Each performer in their own right has "steal the show moments” that leave the audience wanting more and this is to be commended. This invigorating version of "Urinetown:
The Musical" brings memorable energy bursting with glee to HK's local musical theatre scene.


For more information about this production, click here

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 5.0


  • Anon
    23 November 2017

    How is this a review ?

    This is 90% synopsis of the show and hardly any effort into any opinions on the actors. A few through away comments at costumes, and the band, but that’s all ?

    HKELD, step your game up.

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