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FIND YOUR PLACE ON AVENUE Q

Published by: Mark Ridyard on 26th Aug 2015 | View all blogs by Mark Ridyard

Avenue Q
More than a decade after making its debut on Broadway, Avenue Q opened last night at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow.

For those unaware of the world of Avenue Q, the principle is very simple – it’s a kind of Sesame Street on stage, but the kind of show that advertises itself as unsuitable for any under the age of 14. The performers on stage are dressed in black, and spend the show manipulating puppets through a tongue-in-cheek, coming-of-age storyline.

With this in mind, it’s probably hard to understand how a show with such a strange premise managed a five-year-run in London’s West End, not to mention the Tony Awards and Grammy nomination that also came its way.

However, a quick glance at the programme revealed the name Robert Lopez as the co-author of the show’s music and lyrics – the same Robert Lopez who co-authored the songs in the massive Disney hit Frozen for which he won an Oscar.

And the music in Avenue Q didn’t disappoint. Whether it was the raunchy “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today” or the haunting “There’s A Fine, Fine Line” at the end of Act One, we were taken on a terrific journey through a wide range of different styles and moods.

The storyline followed the lives of a group of friends who, in a very amusing, satirical and foul-mouthed fashion, are realising that their parents’ repeated assurances about how special they were as children were a long way from the reality the are experiencing as adults. Despite the age of the show, it felt fresh and vibrant – simplistic staging, but using lighting and costumes of the puppets to brilliant effect.

But what of the performers themselves: the puppeteers? Well, this is where the Glasgow audience needed to “suspend their disbelief” somewhat – if they were expecting to see life-size dummies (in the mould of Shrek: The Musical or Disney On Ice) then would have been severely disappointed. Instead, they were treated to something much more subtle and, at times, technically astonishing with the cast using a variety of hand-puppets and marionettes as well as having to voice several different characters in the same scene.

There were a small number of “humans” who appeared on stage, one of which was the character of Gary Coleman – unusually, in this tour, played by a female actress.

Overall, the quality of the acting, puppeteering and singing was a joy to behold – to find performers who can do one of these three things well is hard enough, but to fill a touring production with talented individuals who can do all three is astonishing.

There was a liberal amount of swearing and references to adult themes (one of the songs is titled “The Internet Is For Porn”, to give you some idea) so I would have to advise than under-16s stay at home for this one; but if you’re looking for hearty laughs, intelligent humour and terrific musical numbers, then Avenue Q is the place for you!

Avenue Q
at The King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Tuesday 25th – Saturday 29th August 2015
Buy tickets for Avenue Q at The King's Glasgow

 

Comments

1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 2 years ago
    Thanks, Mark. And useful family friendly tips for the younger Theatre goer!
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