Avenue Q tells the story of a young man named Princeton, fresh-faced and naïve to the real world, and his journey through the trials and tribulations of love, life and finding a purpose through the magic of puppetry. Opening with ‘What Do You Do With a BA In English’, I fell in love immediately.
The reason Avenue Q hits the sweet spot is because there is a distinct lack of ventriloquism with the puppets. The actors have brilliant facial expression, and we as the audience are looking at both puppet and actor alike, as they exist as separate but merged identities.
The choreography was seamless and set was relatively simple: one set, no big changes, just mechanisms opening and shutting showing the different rooms within the main framework. It sounds shoddy but it’s very cleverly constructed.
The only thing I don’t think really worked was the whole Gary Coleman joke. I get the idea of the washed-up child actor, but because the show was created in America the American-based pop culture jokes didn’t always translate, particularly in this case. Maybe it’s just me being a British teenager.
The sex scene had me doing my ugly laugh. There was this absolutely stellar moment where Kate Monster protests “Normal people don’t watch porn!” during ‘The Internet Is For Porn’ (probably my favourite song) and Trekkie Monster just laughs knowingly, and the audience naughtily laugh along with him.
All jokes aside, the reason I know it works is because I’m still singing the songs. There was this lovely nod to the 2015 General Election that you should watch out for – David Cameron is definitely ‘only for now’. Sucks to be us. This isn’t a political manifesto though so I’ll stop with the serious business.
Overall a pleasant surprise. As for the content itself I wasn’t sure how funny it would be – when things have a reputation of being funny I always feel there’s a pressure to laugh. But this was genuinely funny and I really, really enjoyed it. I went in there genuinely unaware of what a treat I was in for. I can’t sing its praises enough. Brilliant.
Avenue Q is playing at Greenwich Theatre until 24 May. For tickets and more information, see the Greenwich Theatre website.