Music and Lyrics: Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Director: Cressida Carre
Reviewer: Laura Stimpson
The naughtiest puppets in theatreland are on tour, tonight’s stop – The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford and they have the audience in hysterics throughout. Avenue Q has racked up the accolades since it’s theatre debut in 2003, including the Tony “Triple Crown” for Best Musical, score and book. Its success really is no surprise. Only these seemingly innocent, loveable puppets would get away with the level of political incorrectness and sexual content the show includes.
The musical tells the story of recent college graduate Princeton (Lawrence Smith) as he tries to make his way in life, moving into the cheapest NYC apartment he can find. He meets some colourful neighbours who together, whilst ‘sucking at life’, help him on his search to find his purpose. The mainly upbeat songs are absolutely hilarious, well crafted and memorable. The show touches on many social issues that are prevalent in today’s society including; political correctness, racism, sexuality, the internet and the expectation of the rewards of a university education. Within seconds you forget that the puppets are just that. The actors are extremely talented and make the puppets seem like an extension of themselves, really bringing the puppets to life. The versatile actors are responsible for at least two puppets each and regularly move between the two characters, some of whom converse at
This is a true ensemble performance, the whole cast work hard and contribute strongly to this high energy performance. A special mention goes to Tom Steedon for his portrayal of Treckie Monster, he delights the audience with his part in the song ‘The Internet Is for Porn’, really pushing it to its limits and leaving the audience in hysterics. An unsung hero of the performance is Megan Armstrong, whilst she doesn’t play a leading role as such, her part is incredibly crucial to the smooth running of the show and vital to several of the main characters, she often plays the second arm of a puppet, or works puppets whilst they are voiced by other actors.
The set, designed by Richard Evans is simple, effective and functional. It takes the form of a static street scene, which opens in parts to show the inside of the houses.
The lighting, designed by Charlie Morgan Jones works well to compliment the set and transport the audience beyond Avenue Q, the lighting design is showcased at its best when the cast go into the city and the lights and sound effectively portray the effect of traffic and transport.
Avenue Q is a cheeky, heartwarming, fun, and most importantly thoroughly enjoyable musical. If you need some laughter therapy or are looking for something different from the usual stage musical this is the show for you.
Reviewed on 25 March 2019. Runs until 30th March 2019 | Image: Contributed