Review: Avenue Q @ New Theatre
*A review not for little monsters*
Out of all the mega-hit musicals since the millennium, few have had such a loving audience and such shock humour as Avenue Q.
This is a show that has visited Cardiff twice and is loved here at theSprout, as is proven by our previous reviews of the show. Musicals are taking more risks now: be it Jerry Springer: The Opera, The Book Of Mormon and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert all of which are most certainly not for kids and push the boundaries of what a show can show, really.
The great thing about Avenue Q is that it's mostly through the medium of puppetry and that you can get away with some rather blue material. The work is incredibly funny, with some near gut-busting moments and is a musical that has a playbill of songs that is mostly excellent. This is what Oscar-winning composer Robert Lopez was up to before penning the ultra famous Frozen. He should become a household name on both accounts.
The songs are vulgar, cleverly poised and most of all, darn catchy, which is what a good show tune should be after all. The Internet Is For Porn, It Sucks To Be Me and If You Were Gay are now all classics, very easily quoted at random occasions throughout your day. Everyone's A Little Bit Racist is clever in its stance on us all embracing some stereotypes and having a little resentment for just about everyone. This is a musical with many stand out songs and is all the better for it.
The puppeteers and actors are all brimming with a comedic vibrancy. An appearance from a mock Gary Coleman is bittersweet, especially after his death. The puppeteers especially, who have to dart into other characters off stage, is impressive in just how swift they can be (here are clearly more than one puppet for several of the characters). The puppets are vessels for the actors to use in wonderful ways, even in a rowdy scene of hilarious coitus. The mega theme of "purpose" heavily rings out into today's audience and it's refreshing for a musical to handle such meaty topic like this.
The show is even decent enough to get audience members to make an actual donation to be part of the show. Well, it's for real charities, only it just ties in so well with the show. Those taking donations should have waited a little bit longer, as the one girl missed me flailing my arm in the air with what small change I could crop up at the time. I doubt she ever saw me.
A few gripes might be that the second act is a little long and the show could be wrapped up without an intermission. Perhaps these Muppet-like creations could do with some legs as well for even more comedic effect? Since their creation they have only ever been torsos.
The show is a good time for those who aren't easily flustered by mature content and like thoughts and ideas to be massaged.
Clever, catchy and gloriously un-PC.
Rating: 4 Stars
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