If you are to judge a show purely on audience reaction, Avenue Q which is at The Palace Theatre in Manchester all this week is set to be a hit all over again. Originally written as a TV series 12 years ago Avenue Q hit the stage in 2003 and has played Broadway, The West End and now currently on a 3rd UK tour. In fact there are few countries this show has not played in its lifetime.
The best way to describe Avenue Q is probably, Sesame Street for adults! Some of the lyrics are not for the faint hearted, due to this along with some of the subject matter tackled during the show it really is an adults only show, so leave the kids with the childminder and get down to the Palace Theatre this week while it’s still in town.
The story revolves around Princeton a college graduate arriving on Avenue Q low on luck and money trying to find his purpose in life. After a meeting on the street with Kate Monster love blossoms only for their feelings to be challenged by the vivacious Lucy the Slut! Along the way we learn what the internet is really for, that it’s OK to be Gay and that everyone can be a little bit racist. As farfetched as these scenarios are on stage they mirror everyday life today, some 11 years after the show began.
Human characters in the form of Christmas Eve, Brian and Gary Coleman complement the furry residents of Avenue Q. The Gary Coleman character has reverted back to being played by a female actor, this was originally the case on Broadway however, a male actor was preferred in the West End production.
Puppets share the stage with actors, which at first is a little off putting as your eyes are not sure where to settle. However, after mere minutes you become transfixed on the puppets and forget anyone is holding them or speaking their voice. This is a huge testament to the skill of the cast and once richly applauded at the end of the evening.
You will need to take tissues to this show, not because it is sad, although there are one or two tender moments, but for the fact it is side splittingly funny. A brief glance around the auditorium during the naked puppet sex scene saw virtually everyone wiping away tears of laughter. The Bad Ideas Bears were also ridiculously funny, but the thing that makes this show stand head and shoulders above others are the one line gags which never seem to stop.
Do not miss out on the chance to take a trip down Avenue Q before the show closes on Saturday.
Reviewed: 26th May 2014 by Paul Downham.