By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Avenue Q at The Alexandra, Birmingham
Avenue Q, the all-singing adult puppet (who look like they could be muppets but aren’t endorsed in any way) show is in Birmingham all this week at the Alexandra Theatre and I was more than excited to see this 2019 touring show live on stage! I was not disappointed!
Princeton, a puppet (performed by Lawrence Smith), has discovered, on moving to The City of New York, that his budget will only cover a small room in Avenue Q, a small street in outer-outer New York City. He’s building manager is none other than Gary Coleman – Yes That Gary Coleman (Nicholas McLean) and his two other human neighbours are Christmas Eve (Saori Oda) and her boyfriend Brian (Oliver Stanley). He also has two “odd couple” neighbours, closeted Rod (also performed by Lawrence Smith) and the unaware object of Rod’s affection and also Rod’s roommate Nicky (performed by Tom Steddon)
One day, Princeton meets Kate Monster who lives below Christmas and Brian, Kate is a classroom assistant (performed by Cecily Redman) and Princeton smitten. Their first date goes awry when “home video” star Lucy, the Slut (also performed by Cecily Redman) sings in the local bar, Jessica Rabbit-style. Princeton’s new fair weather friends, The Bad Idea Bears (performed by Tom Steddon and Megan Armstrong) encourage them to drink. Which as everyone knows, leads to consequences!
I’ve adored the songs of Avenue Q for many years and the soundtrack is just bursting with brilliantly crazy songs like, What would you do with a BA in English? Everyone’s a little bit racist and The internet is for Porn. And seeing them on stage with the actual story was fantastic.
There’s some great vocals and puppeteering and the story just flies on by. The set is the street itself with windows opening to reveal model versions of the apartment interiors which also speeds up the plot.
The story itself is not without general issues, the women are deemed “Monster” “Slut” in their character names or Scary, and most of the guys are seemingly just led by sex and are slightly forgiven for being guys.
Just as Friends the TV series is of its time, this is also a snapshot of life in the early 2000s. No smartphones, just handsets and no social media. However there’s diversity, sexuality, race and gender being tackled right up on the stage and in the songs. The overall message of this show is that being different to the person next to us is who we are and we are all on our journeys.
There’s also animations on tv monitors which further reinforce the Sesame Street style show that it is lampooning while creating its own identity.
I loved this show soo much and after the interval I was already sad that there was less than an hour left! I’d see this again in a heartbeat!
Smart, adult and poignant I adored this from start to finish!
Avenue Q is at The Alexandra until Saturday 16th February. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/shows/avenue-q/alexandra-theatre-birmingham
There’s even a 2 tickets for £40 offer for Valentines Day (14th February) for pairs of tickets in “Band A and B” with a free glass of prosecco on arrival! (Code LOVEQ)
This isn’t a sponsored post. #BrumHour was invited to see Avenue Q by The Alexandra.
When not blogging theatre for #BrumHour, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham.