Avenue Q is a multi award winning musical that has played on both Broadway and the West End and is currently on a nationwide tour. I caught up with the show this week in Crawley.
It is an unusual show in that it features puppets which are brought to life by a small cast of amazingly talented, actors/singers/puppeteers. The puppets play alongside and interact with other actors and so it is not surprising that Avenue Q is likened to Sesame Street particularly as the play deals with themes such as growing up, dreaming big, and finding your purpose in life.
However that is where the similarity ends as Avenue Q features the naughtiest puppets in town! The story starts with Princeton, recently graduated searching for a job and a place to stay. He moves into Avenue Q where he meets the rest off the cast, Superintendent Gary Coleman (I am not joking) Brian the out-of-work comedian and his therapist fiancée Christmas Eve, who are hilariously (played by Richard Morse and Jacqueline Tate respectively) and all the other puppets Nicky and his closet gay roommate Rod, Trekkie Monster who spends all day surfing porn and the lovely Kate Monster who falls for Princeton but has a rival for his affections in the form of cabaret singer Lucy the Slut – you begin to see what I mean? Sesame Street it is not.
Avenue Q is created by Robert Lopez (the book of Mormon, Southpark) and this production is produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company. Directed and Choreographed by Cressida Carre I must admit I couldn’t recall much difference from the original production however why mess with something when it works. Paul Jomain also needs a special mention as the maker of all the incredible puppets.
I had already seen Avenue Q in the West End and loved it for it’s originality and naughtiness. I was very excited to see Sell a Doors interpretation of it. It didn’t disappoint.The cast are incredibly talented. For me Lucie Mae Sumner stood out her Kate Monster melted your heart but she also vamped up Lucy the Slut a treat and I marvelled when she was playing both characters at once talking literally to herself in a kind of schizophrenic way 🙂 Tom Steedon and Greg Airey also played at least two characters each and were a real treat to behold. Ellena Vincent played the part of Gary Coleman and she hoofed and sang fantastically, although the actual ‘Gary Coleman’ jokes fell flat. Somehow (and I can’t think why) she didn’t quite ‘look’ the part. Keep her in and slight script change required methinks.
The score is one of the catchiest I know, there are so many hummable ditties, unfortunately some of them quite unsuitable for singing out loud (The Internet is for Porn, Everyone’s a little bit Racist, If you were Gay.) If I had one grumble it would be that sometimes the orchestra drowned out the vocals. This is a show where ‘every lyric counts’ because they are so funny and enjoyable.
This is definitely NOT the show for you if you get offended by sexism, racism, bad language, steamy sex scenes – even if they are with puppets etc. There is a reason why this show has a parental guidance rating. It varies from theatre to theatre however at the Hawth it was 14+ but I certainly wouldn’t take children that age personally. I do recommend it if you want to see something quirky, outrageously funny and a little but naughty
It was only at The Hawth for a short three night run but the Nationwide tour runs for a while yet. You can catch it in Croydon, Guildford or Wimbledon amongst other places.
|Tuesday 1 – Saturday 5 July||BLACKPOOL||The Grand|
|Monday 7 – Wednesday 9 July||POOLE||Lighthouse|
|Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 July||LINCOLN||Theatre Royal|
|Monday 14 – Wednesday 16 July||SUNDERLAND||Empire|
|Thursday 17 – Saturday 19 July||WINCHESTER||Theatre Royal|
|Monday 21 – Wednesday 23 July||ST HELEN’S||Theatre Royal|
|Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 July||LICHFIELD||Garrick Theatre|
|Monday 28 – Wednesday 30 July||CROYDON||Fairfield Halls|
|Thursday 31 – Saturday 2 August||GUILDFORD||G-Live|
|Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 August||DUBLIN||Energy Theatre|
|Monday 11 – Saturday 16 August||OXFORD||New Theatre|
|Monday 18 – Wednesday 20 August||GLASGOW||Pavilion|
|Thursday 21 – Saturday 23 August||CARLISLE||Sands|
|Tuesday 26 – Saturday 30 August||WIMBLEDON||New Theatre|
|Thursday 4 – Saturday 6 September||CORK||Opera House|
|Monday 8 – Friday 12 September||PORTSMOUTH||Kings Theatre|
|Tuesday 16 – Saturday 20 September||BIRMINGHAM||Alexandra|
What the critics thought:
‘Outrageously funny from beginning to end’ – West End Frame – 4 Stars
‘This is a show and a company that it is impossible not to fall in love with.’ – The Stage
‘the fusion of actor and puppet was so complete’ – The Manchester Evening News – 4 Stars
What they are saying on Twitter
Website : http://avenuequk.com/home
Prices vary per venue but expect to pay between £20-£30
So, go and see it if you dare, just don’t take the children 🙂
Have you seen Avenue Q? Did you like it? I would love to hear yours views. Please leave a comment below. If you have more media or links you would like me to add then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I shall be happy to put them in.