Fringe Box



Stage Dragon Review: Avenue Q at G Live

Published on: 24 Apr, 2016
Updated on: 24 Apr, 2016
The cast of the 5 Star rated Avenue Q.

The cast of the 5 Star rated Avenue Q.

By Ferenc Hepp

Having seen a number of versions of this show performed by different groups, as well as in the West End, and having had a great time and plenty of laughs each time, I had high expectations when I entered the auditorium in G Live and took my seat in Row Q of all places!

It was a shame not to see a full house when the lights went down, however, this did not affect the atmosphere too much, as there was plenty of appreciative laughter and applause from Tuesday night’s audience from the very start.

Avenue Q was original created by Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez, who met each other in New York in the late 1990s.

Their original idea was to recreate Hamlet with Kermit the Frog in the title role, however, the Jim Henson Company were not very impressed with this idea, therefore they decided to create their own characters and “Muppets”, based on themselves and their friends.

The original idea

The original idea was to feature Kermit the Frog but the “Muppets” are based on the cast and their friends.

It opened off-Broadway in 2002, eventually transferring onto Broadway soon after and won three Tony Awards in 2004, for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Original Book. It opened in the West End in 2006, and there have been numerous productions ever since all over the world.

This production is part of a national tour by Sell A Door Theatre Company, directed and choreographed by Cressida Carré.

It does not disappoint. The set remains the same throughout, representing the street that is called Avenue Q, the only changes we see are when the walls ‘open’ and we see a ‘doll’s house’ type representation of the inside of these houses.

Yes, it is simple, but completely effective. Some of the best known songs from the show (“It Sucks to Be Me”, “If You Were Gay”, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is for Porn”) all happen in the first half, and if you have not heard of this show before or know exactly what to expect, these titles clearly indicate the nature of the script, and as we were warned on the front page of the programme, it is “not suitable for little monsters”.

The storyline which revolves around the residents of Avenue Q can easily be followed (makes a nice change to some of the more ‘contemporary’ theatre that is around nowadays), the actors are never off stage for long, they are all full of energy throughout and the voices that represent the puppets are perfect.

Should you look at the actor or the puppet?

Should you look at the actor or the puppet?

Who should you look at? The actors or the puppets? I think both, and I did both. The company make this look very simple, but I am sure it takes a very long time to be trained to this level, and special mention must be made for Stephen Arden, Sarah Harlington, Richard Lowe and Jessica Parker, all of whom personified a number of different puppet characters with ease and lots of humour.

As per one of the songs in the show: “There’s a fine, fine line between reality and pretend” and this show has it all.

It is a fictional story with a mixture of puppets and humans, but also with a number of real underlying messages. The friend I was with called it “pupptastic”, I would say it was worth every penny of the ticket price.

Star rating 5

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