Avenue Q Review19th April 2016
From the beginning, you know that Avenue Q isn’t going to be your every day, run-of-the-mill musical when the first F-bomb is dropped less than ten minutes in.
It certainly subverts your expectations of what to expect from a cast of seemingly adorable puppets (The Bad Idea Bears in particular spring to mind).
It’s that subversion of expectations that makes Avenue Q so enjoyable – on the surface, it seems like an amusing adult parody of Sesame Street and The Muppets – but in reality it’s so much more than that.
Avenue Q is incredibly funny, incredibly clever – and incredibly relatable. If anything, it’s almost too relatable, especially for anyone in the final months of their degree or not long out of college.
Main character Princeton, (Josh Tevendale) is a fresh faced college graduate searching for his Purpose – but instead finds Avenue Q and its colourful cast of inhabitants.
From failed comedian Brian and girl-next-door Kate Monster to Superintendent “Gary Coleman from TV’s Different Strokes”, Princeton and co. learn about life, relationships and what the Internet is really for, through witty lyrics, jokes, and occasionally touching scenes.
Even with moments of real sincerity, Avenue Q is, on the whole, genuinely funny, and packed with laugh out loud moments – which is hardly surprising when the songs were co-written by Robert Lopez of Book Of Mormon and Frozen fame. (That said, Avenue Q is hardly family friendly Disney fare, so please don’t take under 14s.)
Some of the most humorous moments are thanks to Fourth Wall breaking, that is, interaction with the audience from aside glances in The Internet Is For Porn, to The Money Song, which raises money for the productions’ charity of choice.
The set is also a work of genius. A tiny New York Street transplanted onto a North East stage, the set helps to give a real sense of depth to the musical. Rather than laborious set changes, the windows of the backdrop drop down to reveal miniature apartments. It’s a clever twist that helps ground each character, and is improved by the top floor windows, through which members of the cast appear to add a unique Greek Chorus to some of the songs.
All in all, if you’re in search of a funny musical packed with heart and looking for your purpose in life, Avenue Q is definitely for you.