It’s been 14 years since its debut and now touring the UK, Avenue Q is your adult version of Sesame Street – learn a whole load of grown-up stuff via cute foul mouthed puppets.
With comedic numbers such as ‘What Do You Do with a BA in English?’, ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’, and ‘It Sucks to Be Me’, Avenue Q tells the tale of Princeton, a young man fresh out of college and desperately seeking purpose in life.
On Avenue Q he meets the likes of Kate Monster, Lucy the Slut, Trekkie Monster as well as the Bad Idea Bears resulting in episodes of drama that are far from cute – but don’t judge Elmo by these puppets’ standards.
Music and lyrics brought to you by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx who have a combined catalogue of hits such as Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’, ‘I Believe’ from smash Broadway comedy The Book of Mormon and the Emmy nominated musical episode of Scrubs – it’s no surprise that some numbers are a little too catchy and linger for days to come. Hint: If you buy the soundtrack there is never an acceptable volume for you to sing along to the number ‘The Internet is for Porn’.
There’s hardly a scene where you don’t find yourself laughing a bit too long and hard – and there’s definitely not an audience member who isn’t there with you.
The list of to dos when creating this production must have been immense. From set design, to script, fashioning puppets to finding a group of actors who can … pretty much do everything. They sing, dance, act and manoeuvre puppets as easily as I could follow the alphabet on a recent episode of Sesame Street.
There were moments you’d fight with yourself over – who or what to watch, puppet or person? With principal actors belting out tunes immaculately, it was hard not to marvel at the performer.
Sarah Harlington played both Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut, which saw her flip effortlessly between a Prairie Dawn type to a sassy (sort of) puppet version of Dolly Parton.
The ensemble cast who were made up of actors also playing multiple roles – even one down as ‘second arm’ in the programme – bring this (whacky) tale to life.
Definitely a night of (non-family) fun, unless you’re comfortable enough to sit with parent or sibling while two puppets get ‘intimate’ on stage – which is surprisingly awkward.
It’s an amazing script with brilliant numbers and a cast with too much talent to handle.