AVENUE Q: On tour

London
AVENUE Q

Music & lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Book by Jeff Whitty

New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, London SW19 1QG to 30 August 2014
Wed & Thurs 7.30pm Fri 5pm and 8.30pm Sat 2.30pm and 7.30pm
New Alexandra Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DS from 16 September to 20 September 2014
Same performance times
Runs 2hr 15 mins One interval

TICKETS: Wimbledon 0844 871 7646
Birmingham 0844 871 3011
www.atgtickets.com
Review: William Russell 26 August

A Q to queue for!
Back on the road once again this Tony award winning musical – also West End hit – remains as fresh as ever. The music is catchy, the lyrics witty, it is frequently quite filthy in the best possible bad taste, and the gimmick of using puppets for the leading characters works a treat.

It is, of course, a rip off of television shows like Sesame Street and the Muppets but it has had the blessing of the Jim Henson powers that be from the start. The current producers say their aim is to make live theatre attractive to the screen-addicted social network generation and judging by the capacity audience on a wet Tuesday in Wimbledon they have succeeded. It may not get them in to Hedda Gabler or The Iceman Cometh, but it does get them in to a live show.

There was hardly a gray hair in sight, senior citizens being noticeable only because of their scarcity value. There is pleasure to be got also from watching the puppeteers at work. You do forget they are there to an extent, but not wholly – part of the pleasure is seeing how they do it, how they play more than one character and how sometimes the person voicing the puppet is not the person manipulating it.

You know you are in good hands right from the start with the immortal announcement by the new boy in town – “What can you do with a BA in English?” There is the duet for the two young men – If You were Gay – but I’m Not, the sending up attitudes rotten in Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist, and the wonderful hymn to porn and the internet to enjoy. The audience knew all about that judging by the way they received the song.

The cast is first rate, although they are required – Avenue Q is in New York – to speak and sing American. They do so well enough but one does wonder whether the show is not good enough just to be done as if it were a street here. I am not sure that the down in his spirits character joke – “You could always hang yourself,” he is told – is in the best possible taste at the moment. But this is a bad taste show.

Nicky/Trekkie monster/ Bad Idea Bear: Stephen Arden
Brian: Richard Morse
Mrs T/ Bad Idea Bear: Jessica Parker
Princeton/Rod: Tom Steedon
Kate Monster/ Lucy The Slut: Lucie Mae Sumner
Christmas Eve: Jacqueline Tate
Gary Coleman: Ellena Vincent
Ensemble: Greg Airey, Will Hawksworth, Etiyai Philip, and Emily Jane Morris, also Dance Captain

Director: Cressida Carre
Set Designer: Richard Evans
Lighting Designer: Charlie Morgan Jones
Costume Designer: Natasha Dilworth
Sound Designer: Chris Boggs
Animation Design: Robert Lopez
Nigel Plaskitt and Sam Lupton: Puppet Coaches.

2014-08-27 20:44:50

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