Avenue Q (music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx; book by Jeff Whitty) comes to The Spa, Bridlington laden with honours and five years in the West End. It has some
excellent singing, some provocative themes and visual excitement.
The plot revolves around the character of Princeton who has recently graduated from university and is now searching for a ‘purpose’ in life. The only flat he can afford is on
Avenue Q. Princeton is a hand puppet operated by Will Hawksworth who speaks the lines and sings the songs.
The main visual joke of the show is the naturalistic interaction between the actors and the puppets and the opportunities this affords for puppetism to stand in for other forms of prejudice (‘Everyone’s a Little bit Racist’). Clearly inspired by Sesame Street, the targets are rather more adult than those of its progenitor.
Princeton becomes the object for the affections of Kate Monster who is animated by the excellent Emily-Jane Morris (also the Miss Piggy lookalike, Lucy the Slut). The songs in the first half have greater weight than those in the second, but her singing alone is worth the price of a ticket. Richard Morse plays Brian, a failed stand-up comedian. He does not have a puppet alter ego, but sets the tone for the show with ‘My Life Sucks’.
Gregg Airey plays Trekkie (read Cookie Monster) and has one of the show’s best songs: ‘The Internet is for Porn’.
Jacqueline Tate, as Chritmas Eve, provides a reflective note while confessing that she is trying to earn a living from Chinese medicine although she is Japanese.
I must confess that I had difficulty keeping up with which actor was speaking for which puppet when they did not voice the puppet they were holding, but the overall trajectory of
the plot was clear enough.Avenue Q is sufficiently non-PC to have some shock value, but it still ends in exactly the place you would expect an American musical to be: marshmallow street.
It runs until Saturday November 22 with performances: Thursday November 20 at 7.30pm; Friday November 21 at 5pm and 8.30pm: Saturday November 22 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Review: By Mike Tilling