The music and lyrics of Avenue Q were created by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. It originally opened off-Broadway then transferred to Broadway in 2003, crossing the Atlantic in 2006 to entertain UK audiences where it thankfully continues now into its 5th year. It resided at the Noël Coward Theatre, the Gielgud Theatre, and recently moved to Wyndham’s Theatre.
Speaking of Wyndham’s Theatre… what a beautiful theatre. I was there to see ‘An Inspector Calls’ (a great classic), however, the theatre was dark and there was no intermission so didn’t really get to appreciate the interior. It has attractive pastel paint details and murals with gold accents, lovely applications/figures, and a beautiful chandelier. Even the washroom was nicely decorated and very clean. Staff are friendly and helpful.
Back to the show! One word – FUNtastic! This musical, originally created for a possible TV series, touches on all aspects of life. It’s an adult version of Sesame Street. The use of puppets is superb and the actors do well to mold with their character/s. It takes an honest look at life’s issues and does so with humor and a beat. Where else can you find love, homosexuality, life’s purpose, friendship, racism, interracial relationships, porn on the internet, loneliness, life’s lessons, life altering experiences – all tied up in one energetic, fun, musical package? It touches base on wishing for the past… going back in time to college days to escape the stresses of ‘adult’ life. Who hasn’t thought that at some point? Who hasn’t wanted to go back in time to simpler days? It incorporates ‘schadenfreude’ which is an actual German word meaning ‘to take pleasure in another’s misfortunes’. Who hasn’t laughed when something has happened to someone (like walking into a door or dropping / breaking dishes, etc.)… not to be mean but because it touches us somewhere inside – now we know there is a term for that! It addresses the ‘feel good’ factor in helping others – when you help others, you help yourself. It reminds us that we have to go after what we want. And finally, it reaffirms that life is only temporary.
All of this is brilliantly portrayed in word, movement and song by 7 fabulous actors (only 4 which mainly handle the 9 puppets). They include Cassidy Janson (Kate Monster & Lucy the Slut), Paul Spicer (Princeton & Rod), Rachel Jerram (Mrs T, Bear, & others), Tom Parsons (Nicky, Trekkie Monster & Bear), Sion Lloyd (Brian), Jacqueline Tate (Christmas Eve), and Delroy Atkinson (Gary Coleman). The talented actors bring with them much experience in television, theatre, commercials, and (serious) music. That’s not to forget the swing and ensemble cast and the fabulous band, not mentioned specifically but appreciated just the same.
It’s kudos to all responsible for bringing to us a summary of life in such an entertaining way.
Keep in mind, there is a recommended age for a reason… due to some scenes and the language, it may not be suitable for children under 12. Children under 5 will not be admitted. Given the musical addresses sex, drinking, and using the web for porn, you use your judgement/discretion if your teenager should see this. Having said that, the evening performances start at 8pm and the show is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes long so may be a late night for some youth.
If you like to laugh and be entertained, go now and enjoy!
by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)