Avenue Q opened on Broadway in 2003 and since then it has come back time and again. A real coming of age show that highlights the trials and tribulations of growing up.
I was first introduced to Avenue Q by a friend, who was blown away by the show and the messages it was portraying. I initially heard a few of the songs and if I am brutally honest I really wasn’t sure that I would enjoy the show, how wrong I was? Now whenever I hear Avenue Q isn’t far from town I am eager to be reminded of some of those messages. I hated to admit it but she was well and truly right on each and every aspect and I fell in love with this hilarious show, where we shouldn’t really be laughing and agreeing but we totally are. What I really love is how real this show is. A lot of the crude and sometimes vulgar mentions within Avenue Q are true to life and because of that you find yourself laughing along even though you know you shouldn’t.
Princeton is one of the main characters in the show so naturally the show starts with him. Although the audience are predominantly drawn to the puppet, I couldn’t help being mesmerised by Richard Lowe. His facial expressions didn’t take anything away from Princeton or Rod for me. They added to the performance.
Princeton is fresh-faced and eager to see what life has to offer him after finishing his studies and earning his BA in English, although I don’t think he realised how real the real world would be on his quest. Unemployed and looking for his purpose he starts at Avenue A and realises that everything is well and completely out of his price range, until he stumbles upon Avenue Q. Where he meets a crazy bunch of very different people, his neighbours include Trekkie Monster who is not related to Kate Monster, Christmas Eve, Brian, Nicky, Rod and Gary Coleman who is portrayed exceptionally by Etisyai Philip.
Princeton now has a place to call home. Which is when “It Sucks To Be Me” kicks in. For me this song shouldn’t make you feel good but it does, because every single one of us is different and we are each hiding a battle that no one else knows about. This is when all the other characters are introduced and each and every performer was outstanding. I have to mention Sarah Harlington who also has a dual role of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Sarah portrays a loveable and likeable Kate Monster and her naivety and loneliness shine through and all you want is for her to feel happy and loved. Whereas Lucy the Slut is a character most women wouldn’t like. I cannot answer for the men but the confidence Sarah portrays in Lucy is breath-taking as you watch the puppet strut across the stage.
Each and every character brings a whole new layer to the show and in society all of us can relate to each story and source of pain. What works for Avenue Q is that puppets can get away with almost anything “The internet is for porn” and “Schadenfreude” – which means happiness at the misfortune of others in German, both made the audience laugh out loud.
The setting and storyline are pretty simple, a row of red-brick houses giving an old school American feel and an eclectic bunch of people looking for love, purpose and job prospects.
“It sucks to be me” was probably one of the very first Avenue Q songs I heard and now it sure is one of my favourites. What this shows is how each and every one of us has something that shapes our lives and our thoughts and sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture. Rather than striving for better we should take stock of what we have in our lives in the here and now.
The show ends with a lovely uplifting song in “For Now” which is hilarious as they reference many things that are temporary in life and there is always a political aspect to it. When it started I think it was George Bush and now it is “Only For Now Donald Trump” which had the New Wimbledon Theatre in hysterics with claps, whoops and laughter of the loudest kind. This song highlights that some things that make us feel uncomfortable in our everyday lives are only for now, except death and paying taxes.
If you haven’t seen this show then it really does suck to be you, this show is enlightening and humorous and will leave you wanting more. Mark my words once you have seen it you will want to see it again and again. Some of the songs are not very PC but they are catchy and light-hearted and whenever you are feeling down they can pull you right backup.
Review by Hayley Thorpe
Winner of the Tony Awards Triple Crown for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book, Avenue Q is part flesh, part felt and packed with heart.
Following five years in the West End and sell-out runs worldwide (packed with mischief, bad behaviour and political incorrectness) this hugely entertaining show is hitting the road on a brand new tour!
Created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez (co-creator of Book of Mormon and writer of the songs for Disney’s Frozen) Avenue Q is an irresistibly charming musical which tells the story of the loveable characters on a downtown New York street trying to make sense of life’s burning issues.
Hilarious, cheeky and uproariously entertaining, with a terrific batch of songs performed by a cast of hugely talented performers and puppets, Avenue Q is the musical like no other.
So don’t let your life suck – book your tickets today!
Suitable for audiences 14+
Monday 14th to Saturday 19th March 2016
New Wimbledon Theatre
Monday 21st to Saturday 26th March 2016
Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
Tuesday 3rd to Saturday 7th May 2016
Palace Theatre, Manchester
Monday 16th to Saturday 21st May 2016
Milton Keynes Theatre