Phillip Rowntree and David Hutchinson from Sell a Door Theatre Company, have brought five days of madness to the New Alexandra Theatre this week as Avenue Q takes centre stage, ready to offend.
Traditionally musicals conjure up images of sashaying actresses who are sequined to perfection belting out songs about true love – but not this one! Welcome to the bizarre world of Avenue Q, where brightly coloured puppets, hilariously honest musical outbursts and bad teddy bears reign supreme.
The production begins with two back-to-back musical numbers, from ‘What Do You Do with a B.A in English?’ to ‘It Sucks to be Me’. Each character is introduced as they explain – in song – why their life is inadequate. Problems range from not having a boyfriend to not achieving childhood dreams all of which are expressed in the most hilarious way.
Jokes about race, sexuality and everything in-between is commonplace in this kooky musical that throws political correctness out the window. Aspects of human nature that are usually concealed are fully explored – laughing at somebody else’s expense and being quick to judge are things that are celebrated and were used as a tool to bring the audience together.
Set on a downtown street in New York, this coming-of-age story follows the quirky ensemble as they face the trials and tribulations associated with growing up. Despite the often downbeat themes, the overriding message was surprisingly uplifting. The closing number which starts off with the lines “everyone’s a little bit unsatisfied” was built up to a climatic finish that assured the audience that even if life sucks – it will only be that way for now.
Jessica Parker, stepping in for Lucie-Mae Sumner, made a brilliant Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut (actual character name), stealing the show with her emotional and heartbreaking number “There’s a Fine Fine Line”. You almost forgot that she was controlling a furry monster puppet.
A great deal of skill in singing, acting and puppetry was demonstrated in the stellar ensemble cast. Not once did any of the accents dip, which I can imagine being quite a difficult task when you’re portraying multiple American puppets, each with different voices and quirks.
Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, this inspiring tale will have you in hysterics throughout and will satisfy both the adult and the child in you.
Avenue Q is showing at the New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 20th September – so you better grab your tickets quick. For more information and to book tickets visit atgtickets.com/shows/avenue-q/