The puppets rolled into town this week, as Avenue Q opened at The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham last night. The outrageous adult puppet show is irreverent and hilarious, at times laugh out loud funny, but it also has moments of real sweetness with a tender love story between a ‘monster’ and a puppet human at it’s heart. It also makes fun of everyone, and I mean everyone., no one is safe from the humour of Avenue Q.
The story is set on Avenue Q, a down at heel area of New York. The tenement blocks of the street are housed by a motley assortment of characters, from warring couple Brian and Christmas Eve (Oliver Stanley and Saori Oda – both super funny in their roles), to the porn obsessed Trekkie Monster and sweet Katie Monster. Their landlord is former child star Gary Coleman (of Different Strokes fame, here played by Nicholas McClean), so yes ‘what you talking about Willis?’ does make an appearance. When Princeton arrives to take up an empty flat, a romance develops between him and Katie Monster. But the course of true love doesn’t run smooth, as Princeton’s quest to find a purpose,and the alluring Lucy the Slut pull him in other directions. Will love find a way for him, and for the other creatures of Avenue Q.
The beauty of Avenue Q is down to the talented puppeteers who play the characters. Both Cecily Redman as Katie, and Lawrence Smith as Princeton have incredible voices which give an added gravitas to the songs and performances. The actors mirror the actions and expressions of their puppet creations which makes the show so compelling as the human and puppet seem to mesh into one.
And then there are the songs. The humour is outrageous and irreverent, with not a hint of political correctness. Everyone is insulted, and when a show has songs entitled ‘If you were gay’, ‘everyone’s a little bit racist’ and ‘You can be as loud as the hell you want (when you’re makin’ love’), you just know this is a show that you may not want to bring your granny too, but everyone else is going to laugh. A lot.
Avenue Q is a funny romp through modern life that leaves you chuckling all the way home. So leave your bad idea bears at home and go and see this!