The Tony Award winning musical, Avenue Q, has seen many walks of life since it’s beginnings over a decade ago; from Broadway to Off-Broadway, the West End, and multiple international tours, it’s a show that always seems to keep coming back. Sell A Door Theatre Company joined the trend this year, re-launching their widely praised 2014 UK tour for another round of fun and fuzz.
Avenue Q is the children’s show for adults. Think Sesame Street, but everyone being significantly less happy; Cookie Monster is a porn-loving pervert, Bert a closeted gay, and somewhere in the middle of it all, a stripper shows up.
Recent graduate, Princeton, heads to NYC ready and excited to take on the real world and find his purpose in life. He finds himself on the only block he can afford, Avenue Q, where he meets neighbors Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Trekkie Monster, Brian, and Christmas Eve. Together, they tackle different issues in life and learn to be happy with what they have for now.
With music and lyrics from Robert Lopez, the brilliant man behind The Book Of Mormon and Frozen, you should know this score is going to be a good one. A mix of incredible satire and wit, it will keep you laughing until the final bow.
Sarah Harlington was a standout, mastering puppets Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut; a majority of times in the same scene, and even in conversations with each other! Stephen Arden was another one to watch for me. Playing Nicky, Trekkie, Monster, and a Bad Idea Bear, he kept me laughing the entire show. Richard Lowe carried the story as Princeton, while also bringing some serious comedy playing off Arden’s Nicky with Rod. Richard Morse and Arina II (Brian and Christmas Eve) had great comedic chemistry and Etisyai Philip was the perfect balance of happy and miserable as Superintendent Gary Coleman. Jessica Parker jumped around characters, filling in the place of other actors playing multiple puppets, while also taking on the roles of Mrs. T. and a Bad Idea Bear. While she wasn’t in one of the leading roles, she was apart of just about every movement that occurred on stage, which is a challenging task she performed wonderfully.
It takes skill to make a presence on stage as an actor; doing it as a puppet makes it even more of a challenge. This group, however, seemed to have no trouble at all switching from puppet to puppet throughout the entire show, and created the focus on the person that was on their arms rather than themselves.
There were very few moments where I didn’t have a smile across my face, and even fewer that I wasn’t bursting out with laughter. The show pushes the limits with the subjects covered; this is not an evening for the easily offended. But if you can take a joke and laugh about the serious things in life, you’ll have a few hours of pure enjoyment.
Reviewed by Caity O’Shaughnessy
Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography
Avenue Q is on tour around the UK. Click here for tour dates and to book tickets