Avenue Q is a highly celebrated show. It has three Tony awards and its brash, hilarious story kicked off on Broadway 12 years ago before coming to the West End in 2006 and finally landing on tour in Blackpool this summer. The arrival of Avenue Q is one to be celebrated. If the reception on opening night is anything to go by we can only hope that this, and other shows of it’s calibre, continue to grace our town and reignite our long time relationship with high quality entertainment.
I approached the Grand Theatre walking through the north end of town with a slight caution, as most would, but the beautiful weather coupled with my excitement and pleasure at being able to view and air my opinion on such a momentus show put a spring into my step. Walking down Church Street was quite a happy affair as, combined with the sunshine, the town seemed to buzz with the excitement of theatre goers. There are none so happy as those anticipating an evening of much heralded entertainment. As I passed new shops that have appeared overnight and a crowd of revellers waiting to take their seats for Mamma Mia, the beautiful Grand Theatre appeared hectic and teaming with people collecting tickets and buying T-shirts and mugs.
How sickening is it to read those gloating, syrupy sweet reviews that tell you in no uncertain terms that you must see this or that show? I hate to follow the same path, but as a strict believer in the truth and letting praise fall where it deserves, YOU MUST SEE THIS SHOW!
There are a few things to consider before seeing this show. Take the lovely old couple who had to leave after a particularly horrifying/weird/roll on the floor hilarious gymnastic sex scene between two puppets. Take it as you will but there are a couple of reasons that may have forced them from their seats. Perhaps they bought tickets for the wrong show. Or maybe…I can’t bring myself to try to get the second reason past the editor. You’ll also probably avoid seeing the show with your teenagers or your parents, unless you are prepared to find out exactly what they think/feel/do in subjects which are quite personal.
If you expect the Muppets, or Sesame Street, be prepared by thinking about what they might get up to off the clock. Sex, drinking games, unrequited love, marriage, born again virgins and porn. In the words of Kermit the Frog, even monkeys in the trees do it, and good lord did those puppets do it.
The story itself is sweet. A young college graduate moves to start a new chapter of his life, bringing along his hope and ambitions in a suitcase, only to lose them while unpacking in the hustle and bustle of Avenue Q, the poor end of New York, New York. Boy meets monster, panics at the first sign of commitment and sleeps with Lucy the Slut.
The actors, puppeteers and facilitators of Avenue Q do such a wonderful and engaging job in bringing these characters to life that they become an appendage to the characters that they play rather than the other way round. The puppets breathe life into the humans and appear to control them as they move deftly round the stage and sing and speak their roles beautifully.
With many educational numbers such as Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist and Shadenfreude, Avenue Q was a joy to watch and received much participation and feedback from the audience and finally welcomed a rapturous standing ovation.
Avenue Q is in Blackpool from Tuesday July 1 to Saturday July 5. Tickets start at £20 and can be bought from Blackpool Grand Theatre box office, over the phone on 01253 290 190 or online.
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