Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School's presentation of Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman's musical comedy "Urinetown" fused an amazing set and an excellent performance to create a truly remarkable theatrical experience.

"Urinetown" is the story of a poor, desolate town with a severe water shortage. The inhabitants are forced by the tyranical Mr. Cladwell (Ben Davis) to pay to use public restrooms. Anyone who refuses to pay or urinates anywhere besides at the designated "amenities" is sent to Urinetown and never heard from again. Bobby Strong (Matt Hagerty), a young villager, is confused and angered when his father is arrested and sent there. Bobby falls in love with Cladwell's daughter, Hope (Emma Vawter), who tells him to follow his heart. Bobby takes her advice and incites a revolution.

"Urinetown" has a very well-designed and constructed set. The rustic color scheme, imaginative use of doors and windows, balconies, entrances and exits, and the beautiful spiral staircase come together into a set that is both aesthetically pleasing and allows smooth transitions.

The singing and acting were also exemplary, though timing was occasionally awkward.

Dan Milliken, who played Officer Lockstock, gave a particularly superb performance. He was definitely a crowd favorite, along with Penelope Pennywise, played by Audra Shapiro.

B-CC pulled off a great show with "Urinetown."

Sam Horrocks

Kennedy High School

The old adage says that two heads are better than one, and it couldn't have been truer for Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School's production of "Urinetown." Many actors stood out, but it was the chemistry they had with one another that made the show such a pleasure to watch.

The story of "Urinetown" "is not a happy one," as the narrator frequently reminded us. It begins in a city where water is in severe shortage and people have to scrape together change for the public toilets, which by law are the only places to go.

Officer Lockstock/narrator (Dan Milliken) often interacted with a town girl named Little Sally (Liza Amling), and their comedic exchanges were timed perfectly and delivered strongly. When not speaking with Little Sally, Lockstock has to deal with the rebellion that had begun in Urinetown, led by the hero, Bobby Caldwell (Matt Hagerty).

Bobby's presentation was led by his heart. The people emphatically followed him to the streets and the sewers to have free toilets. On the other side was the toilet works company "Ur Ine Good Company," led by the corrupt and ruthless Caldwell B. Cladwell (Ben Davis).

Throughout the play, the characters were well developed. Hope Cladwell (Emma Vawter) was impressive with her pretty singing voice and her ditzy, crazily optimistic personality. Amling, as Little Sally, and Milliken, as Lockstock, also had great singing voices.

Overall, the character chemistry and the dancing stood out. The singing was good but inconsistent, and the orchestra played the music without missing a beat.

The dancing was notable for the professional quality created by a student choreographer. Laura Cohen put together sequences that were delightful to watch, and the cast performed them with lively in-character merriment. Also notable were the clever and varied costumes.

There was comedy throughout, with impeccable delivery. In fact, the audience was so enamored of this production of "Urinetown" that the cast glided away to a standing ovation.

As Lockstock said, "this is not a happy musical," but it is a funny one, with great songs, a winning cast and an acting chemistry that brings out the best in every scene.

Becca Chilbert

Quince Orchard High School

Matt Hagerty, as Bobby Strong, and Emma Vawter, as Hope Cladwell, lead the way in "Urinetown," closing Saturday at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High.