No matter how hard it rained yesterday, no matter how wet my feet got, how much matted sodden hair was blown in my face by the wind, I knew I would end the day with a smile on my face. Why? Because I was going to see Avenue Q at the Greenwich Theatre and that show, when done properly, has the power to lighten even the darkest of moods. I am happy to report that on seeing Sell A Door’s production, I was not just happy, I was jubilant!
The last time I saw Avenue Q was in 2008 at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End. For a smaller budget and a smaller stage (although I have to say the space at the Greenwich Theatre is lovely) this production managed to fit surprisingly well into the big boots associated with this show.
For those that don’t know, Avenue Q is musical performed by both people and puppets. Think of a highly sexed up Seasame Street, on crack…throw in some soft-core puppet porn and a few quarter life crises and you’ll find yourself at this fabulous witty coming of age tale by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx.
This show is laugh a minute from start to finish; from the opening number “What Do You Do With A B.A in English,” (I hear ya, bro) to “It Sucks to be Me,” to The Internet is for Porn,” it is safe to say I was in stitches throughout the show. However that said, the show also has some genuinely tender and heartfelt moments such as Princeton’s “I Wish I Could Go Back To College. Richard Lowe and the cast’s rendition certainly tugged at my ageing graduate heartstrings. Waa!
Sell A Door have assembled a highly talented cast who not only can sing, but also voice and act through their puppets. Highlights definitely include Sarah Harlington’s performance of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Harlington perfectly channeled her emotions and soaring vocals through her puppets without stealing any focus for herself, managing to make the audience believe in her puppets as characters rather than props.
Stephen Arden delighted me time and time again with his renditions of Nicky, Trekkie Monster and the Bad Idea Bear. Someone call the Jim Henson Company; this guy was born to voice puppets! The life and sounds he managed to breath into his marionettes, with great help from his side kick Jessica Parker, was nothing short of amazing.
Director Cressida Carré makes some fun and engaging directorial decisions. I especially loved the über marionette Kate Monster towards the end of Act 1, I wish she had stuck around for longer!
The very fabric of Avenue Q is genius and, as a university graduate trying to find my “purpose” in the big city but finding myself constantly plagued by my own cheeky little Bad Idea Bears, I found the production wholly relatable. It almost gave me some kind of sick life validation!
I would go and see this production again and again if I could. Get yourself a ticket to see it – the good news is it is touring the UK so you are most likely to catch it somewhere near you.
Avenue Q runs at the Greenwich Theatre until 24th May 2015 before continuing its tour of the UK. Find out tour dates here.