Avenue Q Review | Palace Theatre | Manchester
This triple Tony Award-winning, feel-good comedy is aimed at the failing generation or anyone who has struggled to find their purpose in life.
After completing his BA in English, Princeton is ready to discover what life has in store for him. His first move is a new apartment on Avenue Q, an outer-outer borough of New York City. We follow Princeton’s blossoming relationships with the Sesame Street-esque puppets Rod and Nicky (resembling Bert and Ernie) and Trekkie Monster, a distant relative of Oscar the Grouch. Alongside a range of actors and puppets who play archetypal characters.
This is an inspirational musical that deals with racism, anxiety and love in a way that Sesame Street never could. These streetwise puppets are voiced by an extremely talented cast who act alongside their character and play multiple roles.
Notable multitasking cast members, Sarah Harlington, Richard Lowe and Stephen Arden voiced numerous characters on stage at the same time. Considering the wider spacing of the Palace Theatre, the production was simple but smart, allowing actors to walk on and assist as a secondary puppeteer or run behind closed doors to get from different corners and levels of the stage.
There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in this show, which is rated 18+ so be prepared for hits like “The Internet Is for Porn” and “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”. Avenue Q features a diverse ethnic cast who are all in on the joke and keep the audience at ease. The shows stereotypical Asian American character, sexism and racist jokes are unlike 2 Broke Girls and Two and a Half Men as it is clear from the start that it is not attempting to be as offensive as possible.
Yet, its deliberately kitsch quips and old school comedy can feel a little dated at times. The show has been running since 2003 and one of the main cast of characters on Avenue Q is Gary Coleman (the Different Strokes actor who died in 2010). It makes sense as he is the epitome of the plays essence. A broken adulthood that was abetted by an over stylised, cosy childhood. More importantly you cannot liable the dead.
Nevertheless, the bountifully entertaining production is completely inclusive in its running theme that everybody’s life sucks sometimes.