Review: Avenue Q has a new home at Wyndham’s Theatre

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)

[Rating:4.5/5]

Book Tickets for Avenue Q at Wyndham’s Theatre!

Review: The residents of Avenue Q take you in and make you part of the ‘family’

The residents of Avenue Q take you in and make you part of the ‘family’. What an enjoyable evening with friends!

Let’s talk about the Theatre so I can get into the Show…

I can’t stress it enough… the Gielgud Theatre is a beautiful theatre… classic, the way a theatre should be… with comfortable seats which is a must when sitting for any length of time. Staff were very friendly and kind! The only negative comment I would have is that it was pretty warm (and quite a few people commented on that or you could see them fanning themselves).

Now… to the show…

Be prepared to have a good evening (or afternoon) when you go to Avenue Q. It’s almost like an adult version of Sesame Street or The Muppets. The characters are cute and you can relate to them. The actors were awesome! There were 7 all together with only 4 of them handled the puppets. Their expressions and movements matched that of the puppets so it’s not like they were just controlling the non-human characters but were part of them. The humans and puppets interacted well and it was like they were genuine friends in a New York neighborhood.  The voices, the singing, the movements… marvellous! And the band… well… hats off to them. The music was funtastic! For the most part (or most what I remember), it was happy, upbeat music. And, of course, I sang the theme song all the way home. The set was great! It’s amazing what can be done with such a seemingly small area. You can see the thought and effort behind the most minor of details that added to the show.  Kudos to those behind the scenes that helped make it all happen.

The commonality between the characters is ‘it sucks to be me’. It is an honest look at life in a comedic light (because if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry – right!). It touches base on every aspect of life… touches base on real issues: graduating from university and not being able to find a job, unemployment or not being able to do the thing you love, dreams, bills/money problems, relationships between friends and between lovers, how everyone is a little racist, an honest look how we laugh at minor misfortunes of others, growing up (and not wanting to), broken hearts, homosexuality, marriage, the internet, porn on the internet (poor Trekkie – the perverted monster who actually has a kind soul), the ‘purpose’ in life, how giving makes you feel good, how our ‘bad idea bears’ influence our thinking, suicide, and yes… even religion.

This show hits on it all and will make you laugh… perhaps you’ll relate to some or all of it! I know I related to the scene between Christmas Eve and Kate Monster how your husband (or the person you love) can drive you crazy yet it’s worth it. It was like, ‘oh my God, I’ve felt that!’ in reference to wanting to hit your spouse with something out of frustration!

There are some touching moments, too!  You could hear the crowd sigh when Princeton touched Kate Monster’s cheek at a tender moment.

The words in the dialogue, songs and on the screens were perfectly chosen. Bravo to the whole company. No wonder it continues to be a success.

Warning: This show is not suitable for kids. There is swearing and nudity (yeah, believe it or not… nude puppets)! Although it may be cute like Sesame Street, it has adult content. Having said that, I must say that the swearing wasn’t as bad as what I had anticipated and the sex scenes were… well, I guess I wasn’t expecting any so they were surprisingly realistic or descriptive. But, that is part of life, as well, so I guess you have to go with the flow and take it all in stride.

The patrons all seemed to enjoy themselves. I know I certainly did. Well done! That is one show I would go and see again! Congrats, Avenue Q! Keep up the great work!

by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)

[Rating:4.5/5]

Book Tickets for Avenue Q at Gielgud Theatre