Wednesday 24 July 2019

Avenue Q at Everyman Theatre review: Your new favourite musical

Combining controversial themes like racism and a questionable internet history, Avenue Q is the perfect musical for people who don’t like musicals. You’ll be crying with laughter after this clever comedy. And, did we mention it’s full of puppets?!

Masters of Puppets

When you first start to describe Avenue Q, it can be hard to explain the concept of seeing the actors on stage, but not really seeing them.

Revolutionary at its launch in 2002, the cast is dressed in black, and expertly puppeteers at least two characters each (sometimes voicing two characters on stage at the same time!) The actors very quickly start to blend into the set, as you focus only on the brightly coloured, Sesame Street style characters they’re manipulating.

That said, each cast member completely commits to the role, providing the facial expressions that static puppets can’t offer – It’s absolute poetry in motion, requiring a degree of co-ordination I could only dream of!

Songs not to play to your parents

It’s the songs in Avenue Q that left tears rolling down our faces. A sucker for a clever lyric, I was in stitches during songs like ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’, ‘If You Were Gay’ and ‘Schadenfreude’ – a tribute to the act of finding joy in the misfortune of others.

But it’s no surprise that these catchy melodies strike such a chord when you discover one of Avenue Q’s co-creators, Bobby Lopez, is one half of the musical team that wrote the songs for Disney’s Frozen and Coco, as well as controversial Broadway hit The Book of Mormon.

Alongside the shocking lyrics and funny observations though, are gorgeous ballads like ‘There’s A Fine, Fine Line’ and ‘Fantasies Come True’ making the soundtrack a well-rounded musical theatre masterpiece that shouldn’t just be noted for churning out the funny.

It’s only for now

This latest UK tour of Avenue Q boasts a phenomenal cast, with notable performances from Cecily Redman as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Her rendition of ‘There’s A Fine, Fine Line’ was alone deserving of a standing ovation.

Lawrence Smith fabulously flipped between the lead character, Princeton and closeted gay accountant Rod, with an innocent energy that made the audience instantly love both characters.

Other standout moments were Tom Steedon as Trekkie Monster as he explains to the audience exactly what the internet was created for; and Saori Oda with her strong, empowered and downright hilarious portrayal of Christmas Eve.

SoGlos loves

While it would be very easy to be offended by the themes and content covered in Avenue Q, its light-hearted approach to covering taboo topics, especially through the use of such adorable puppets, makes it feel okay to have a giggle.

Covering themes including racism, one-night stands, anxiety, drunkenness and internet porn, it’s an important reflection on life that I think would appeal to people who don’t necessarily love traditional musical theatre.

But I still probably wouldn’t take my Mum…

Book now

For more information, see Avenue Q at The Everyman Theatre, call (01242) 572573 or visit directly.

By Melissa Hamblett

© SoGlos
Thursday 18 April 2019

More reviews you might like...

The Outdoor Inn was the perfect remedy to a busy Friday at SoGlos HQ.

The Outdoor Inn review: Festival vibes in the bustle of town

Local beer on tap, street-food pop ups, live music and a festival atmosphere we wish we could bottle. Just add sunshine, and...

Dunkertons Organic Cider, near Cheltenham, is an unmissable foodie gem.

Dunkertons Cidery Experience review: Gloucestershire’s foodie gem you have to visit

A behind the scenes tour, visit to the awe-inspiring shop and a cider and cheese tasting experience we still can’t stop raving...

American Idiot is at Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre until Saturday 6 July 2019.

American Idiot at Everyman Theatre review: Audible angst live in Cheltenham

Green Day’s renowned concept album has been transformed into a gritty rock-opera that feels like it was written with Broadway...

Aaron Sidwell is ‘totally fearless, committed and frighteningly precise’ in Henry V at The Barn Theatre.

Henry V at The Barn Theatre review: Powerful, modern and packed with patriotic verve

The Bard for a Netflix generation, Henry V at The Barn Theatre delivers a powerful, fresh and poignantly patriotic production...

Stereophonics at Westonbirt Arboretum: Kelly Jones and co. gave an ultra-professional performnace at one of Gloucestershire’s most unique venues.

Stereophonics at Westonbirt review: Welsh rock the wet could not wipe out

A sell-out sea of raincoat- and welly-wearers rocked out to Stereophonics at Westonbirt Arboretum, in a sensational Forest...

Unmissable highlights