GUMS, OTHERWISE known as the Galway University Musical Society present their 17th annual show, the Tony Award-winning Urinetown: The Musical, at the Black Box Theatre from Tuesday February 7 to Saturday 11.
This quirky and hilarious musical is set in a futuristic world where water is scarce and peeing is expensive. It is a world of class discrimination, corrupt law enforcement, revolution, and above all, love. All water consumption is controlled by the unscrupulously greedy Caldwell B Cladwell and chaos ensues when his daughter falls in love with revolutionary leader Bobby Strong. The hilarious characters, satirical script, and catchy songs make for a hugely entertaining show, albeit one with an unusual title.
“It’s a piss-take, that’s why it’s called Urinetown,” producer Conor Duggan tells me at Urinetown’s Monday afternoon press launch in NUI Galway. “It’s set in a dystopian future and makes fun of musicals and how dramatic and over-the-top they are. There’s a love story in it, a revolution, there are a lot of big themes all done very comically.”
Urinetown: The Musical premiered in New York in 2001, with music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis. It satirises the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics. The show also parodies musicals such as The Threepenny Opera, The Cradle Will Rock, Les Misérables, and the Broadway musical itself as a form
“The original producers had real problems getting it off the ground because of the title,” Duggan reveals, "but when they eventually got it on it was a smash hit. At the Tony Awards, it won Best Score and Best Book and was nominated for loads more. It’s a great show that’s very cleverly written. I’m a huge fan!”
The GUMS cast includes Patrick Conneely and Eleanor O’Malley as the romantic leads Bobby Strong and Hope Cladwell; Roisin Egan is Penelope Pennywise, a ‘toilet guardian’; Kevin Murphy plays chief baddie Caldwell B Cladwell; while Diarmuid Tierney (Officer Lockstock ) and Claudia Glavey (Little Sally ) are also the show’s narrators.
According to Ríona Hughes, NUIG societies officer: "The musical society never fail to deliver top class performances and attendees at last year’s Addams Family will be able to attest to the professionalism of the cast and crew. This year they have taken on a new musical with an intriguing title which is very relevant to an Irish audience as we ponder the future of our water."
Galway University Musical Society is an amateur society run by students with a passion for musicals. Their productions have been nominated for numerous AIMS awards and received rave reviews throughout their years in NUIG.
Tickets for Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 are €13/10 for concession. Tickets for Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 shows are €15/12. Tickets are available from the Town Hall (091 - 569777, www.tht.ie ) and the Socs Box in NUIG.