Winner of the TONY Award “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is penned as part flesh, part felt and packed with heart. This Broadway Musical by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty is indeed witty, teaches you about life, sex, finances and internet porn... Sesame Street, it ain't!
Princeton, a recent graduate begins his search for a place to live on Avenue A but ends up finding the cheapest apartment much further out of town, in Avenue Q. Superintendent Gary Coleman can merely reflect on his days as a child star for now he's fixing the toilets. Along the way, Princeton finds friends, Brian and his Japanese wife Christmas Eve, Nicky and closeted gay roommate Rod, porn addict Trekkie Monster and the sweetest girl, Kate Monster. Like us, they've all got problems but there's always a solution - the cure to your crappy day may just be a ticket to Avenue Q!
The uplifting, lighthearted look at life is lead by Tom Steedon as both Princeton and Rod, flitting effortlessly between the two. Rod is easily deserving of sympathy, he has some great moments including Steedon's tender 'Fantasies Come True' and in Rod's hilarious coming out. Princeton's 'Purpose' song is a vocal highlight alongside Kate Monster's incredible Act 1 closing number - 'There's A Fine Fine Line'. Kate Monster, played by Jessica Parker in the absence of Lucie-Mae Sumner is a very strong addition to the line up. Parker delights her home crowd of Birmingham in what was clearly a particularly special performance.
Stephen Arden works incredibly hard as three separate characters, Nicky, Trekkie and a Bad Idea Bear. It is his Trekkie Monster however that steals most of the scenes, a clear audience favourite, there is overwhelming and rapturous applause for 'The Internet Is For Porn'.
Jacqueline Tate revives her role of Christmas Eve, a part she played in a previous West End production. Tate is a master of comic timing and ensures that we understand her, even when spluttering incomprehensible Japanese language.
The puppets by Paul Jomain differ slightly in design from the original Cameron Mackintosh production, but not so that they are any less captivating. The set is simpler than previous stagings but it works, the magic of Avenue Q is nothing complicated, just pure talent. Puppet coaches Nigel Plaskitt and Sam Lupton are to be commended on ensuring quality, convincing and accurate puppetry.
Avenue Q remains one of modern musical theatre's greatest triumphs. A show that has heart, a beautiful score and a side-splitting script.... oh, and puppets! This is the ultimate recipe for feel-good fun! See Avenue Q at Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre until Saturday 20 September 2014. Book tickets online here.
Money from 'The Money Song' of course goes to help Kate Monster with her Monstersorri School, but also to Teenage Cancer Trust. You can donate to the cause by clicking here if you didn't quite reach the collection hat.
Cast List: Stephen Arden, Richard Morse, Jessica Parker, Tom Steedon, Lucie-Mae Sumner, Jacqueline Tate, Elena Vincent, Greg Airey, Will Hawkesworth, Emily-Jane Morris, Etisyai Philip