Wednesday, October 21, 2009Last Saturday I had the very fun experience of seeing Avenue Q performed at Sydney's Theatre Royal.
Avenue Q tells the story of Princeton, a college graduate looking for a place within his small price range to rent. He finally finds Avenue Q a colourful street, home to engaged couple Brian and Christmas Eve, Republican investment banker and homosexual-in-denial Rod and his slacker roommate Nicky, the perverted Trekkie Monster, and kindergarten teaching assistant Kate Monster. Oh, and did I mention that Gary Coleman is the buildings superintendent?
Now, I must warn you, if you have never heard of Avenue Q before, do not be deceived by the puppets. This is not a child friendly show. BBC Radio described the musical as "Cross Sesame Street with the Muppet Show give it an X rating." It is even complete with a puppet sex scene, reminiscent of Team America and set to the song 'You Can Be Loud As the Hell You Want (When You're Makin' Love)'.
You may at least have heard some of Avenue Q's more notorious tunes around on the internet, such as 'If You Were Gay', 'It Sucks to be Me', 'The Internet is for Porn', 'Everyone's a Little Bit Racist' and the ever pressing question 'What Do You Do With a BA in English?' In case you're wondering, yes, I did indeed buy the soundtrack from the merchandise stand along with some badges.
Most, but not all, of the characters are puppets who are controlled onstage by the same actors who voice them. When the show first began, it did take my brain a minute to shift focus from the actors mouth to that of the puppets but overall the puppeteers did a great job. The actors dressed in faded dark shades so as not to stand out, yet at the same time contributed to the dynamics of the puppet's character through their own body language and facial expressions.
The set was a view of Avenue Q and the 'walls' of the buildings would turn to show the different apartments inside as needed for the story. There was also a big tv screen, which usually acted as a billboard for sale, but occasionally played clips relevant to the story and reminiscent of that of our childhoods. ("Five nightstands! One nightstand!")
The show was great fun. The audience reaction was positive, with everyone laughing and applauding the whole way through. If Avenue Q comes to a theatre near you (or, like in my case, a theatre that is a two hour bus trip and a half hour walk from you) then I definitely recommend that you see it. It's now wrapped up in Sydney but is heading to Canberra in a couple of days and onto Perth and then Adelaide after that.