Avenue Q – 1 July 2006, London

Avenue Q has been described as ‘sesame street’ for adults, a parody of the children’s programme. On one level it is yet on another it addresses all the issues that we face in life – wanting to get on, finding your purpose in a life and finding love. Although the tale is told by the puppets if the human counterparts couldn’t be seen the show would carry less meaning. When poignancy, comedy and emotion can be conveyed via a puppet then the writing and performances have worked extremely well.

The characters bring up the familiar types – the fresh college boy, the seeming straight-laced girl, the closet gay, the ‘student’ type room mate who understands more than it would seem, the Hawaiian short wearing ‘I could have been a comedian’ and the less familiar - the Japanese Christmas Eve, ex-child start ‘Gary Coleman’, a porn loving monster and a ‘loose’ woman who has a moment of redemption.

All the performers were excellent and in particular Julie Atherton as the hard shelled / soft centred Kate and the ‘loose’ Lucy. Whilst you watched the puppet most of the time you were also drawn to the actors who’s faces and actions mirrored the puppets. Julie especially had the skill of at times having to converse with herself when both Kate and Lucy were on stage. Also to be mentioned are Jon Robyns as the fresh college boy Princeton and the uptight ‘in the closet’ Rod and Simon Lipkin as Rod’s house mate Nicky and the loveable looking Trekkie Monster, with his penchant for porn on the internet

Ann Harada, Sion Lloyd and Clare Foster compete the excellent cast.

The show and the music contains songs which a human only cast wouldn’t have got away with. Two puppets noisily making love and a monster shouting ‘the internet is for porn’ is funny. The music ranges from these comedy numbers to the lovely and sad ‘It’s a fine, fine line’ as Kate monster is hit hard by love.

It is such an enjoyable show, very different and great fun and well worth seeing a second time

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