Theatre Review: Avenue Q (Not Quite Sesame Street)

By Anna Rogers | 17th September 2015

The cast and puppets of Avenue Q

The cast and puppets of Avenue Q

Every adult needs to watch Avenue Q . Having left its hilarious, heartwarming mark on Broadway and the West End, the award-winning tongue-in-cheek musical is now sending shock waves and giggles across the nation on a major UK tour. Think Sesame Street for grown ups – who doesn’t want to see that?

Avenue Q is a musical about growing up, dreaming big and finding your purpose in life. This charming production features an array of puppets replicating the every day you and me, brought to life by an ensemble cast of eleven highly talented performers.

Princeton, a bright eyed graduate full of hopes and ambitions stumbles upon Avenue Q, the only neighbourhood he can afford on his meagre budget, where he meets a concoction of quirky characters all learning some life lessons of their own. This is intermixed with some stunning musical numbers ( It Sucks To Be You, The Internet Is For Porn, Everybody Is A Little Bit Racist) that leave you laughing uncontrollably, whilst addressing topics that seem even more funny, naughty and poignant when a puppet is delivering them.

There is a character for everyone in this musical: bushy-eyed kindergarten teacher Kate Monster, Internet sexpert Trekkie Monster, Brian the out of work comedian, Christmas Eve his therapist fiancée, closet gay Rod, his goodhearted best friend Nicky and even Gary Coleman makes an appearance. Lucy the Slut is a genius character.

The universal themes of love and friendship help deliver the risqué issues which Avenue Q address in the most beautiful way, through comedy and honesty. Watching this musical you are reminded of your own ‘purpose’ and your inner child is exposed. The clever use of screens above the stage flashing up Sesame Street style words to the audience such as commitment, mimics the well loved show but also captures the vulnerability of youth. The most magical moment is the realisation in the final musical number that everything is just temporary: that low bank balance, doing a job you hate, relationship problems, not having achieved your life purpose yet and not feeling like a grown up. All just temporary and short term trials. It sounds simple but Avenue Q makes this point a very important and beautiful one. Something all the kids who grew up with Sesame Street need to remember.

Dream big, don’t give up but don’t stress if it doesn’t all go exactly to plan… A life lesson that actually left quite an impact on me as I left the theatre – all thanks to some very brilliant puppets and an incredibly stunning creative team who clearly love what they do. A musical in a million!

Take a trip down Avenue Q – You can catch this standout production at Grand Opera House York nightly until Saturday 19 September, 7.30pm.

Puppets, but not as you know them

Puppets, but not as you know them

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