Presented by Hills Musical Company
Reviewed 10 Nov 2018
This ‘coming of age’ parable sees Princeton leaving university with his shiny new BA and moving to Avenue Q. This is where he meets new friends, searches for his purpose and finds out that all that learning has not equipped him for real life! Based on the children’s TV series Sesame Street, this street is populated by some interesting characters, both puppets and humans. Originally written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (with the book by Jeff Whitty), this musical has been shown around the world for the last 15 years making audiences laugh and think about their prejudices.
As Princeton, Michael Bates is beautifully optimistic and innocent making it easy for the audience to be on his side. He sings with conviction and matches well with Kate Hodges as Kate Monster, his love interest. Hodges has a lovely voice and one of the highlights of the show is her version of There’s A Fine, Fine Line.
In truth, the entire cast is excellent. Mark DeLaine fills the big character of Brian, making him a loveable buffoon in vivid shirts but never losing the heart of the character. As his wife Christmas Eve, Jess Go-ong gives her best performance yet, drawing out the zaniness of the character and showing her strong voice.
Rod and Nicky, the Bert and Ernie characters are brought to life by Ray Cullen and Warren Logan. Cullen manages to embody the uptight Rod giving him all the nuances of this closeted gay, whilst Logan is so relaxed and cheerful as his best friend and housemate Nicky. Their song If You Were Gay is hilarious. Trekkie, Ian Buxton plays that larger than life monster and he does a great job and has much fun, particularly with The Internet Is For Porn. Shelley Crooks raunches it up as Lucy the Slut, singing up a storm with Special. Alisa James as Gary Coleman and Vanessa Shirley and Emma Wilczek as the Bad Idea Bears all add to the entertainment, with puppet assistance from Dylan Rufus, Daniel Obie Vickers and James McCluskey-Garcia.
Director Gordon Combes has put together a good team with Paul Sinkinson as Musical Director and Sarah Williams as choreographer. The set designed by Gordon Combes and Russell Ford worked well and allowed for the scenes to flow and was well lit by Matt Ralph’s lighting design. Anne Humphries again did a great job on costumes for the humans!
Like its predecessor Sesame Street, this parable can teach us a few things, make us look a little closer at our attitudes to race, sex and homophobia and make us laugh at ourselves while we do. This show is a must see, go and laugh with the puppets!
Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Photo credit: Mark Anolak