Avenue Q

Avenue Q program- Front
Avenue Q program- Front (Photo credit: yumiang)

Just for something a little different, we decided on a trip to see the highly-recommended Avenue Q show at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow. I’d originally seen posters up for it in London some years ago and happened to catch an advert recently detailing the performances up here.

For those who’s not heard of it, Avenue Q is an adult version of Sesame Street. It comes complete with fuzzy characters, monsters and songs. Thing is, Sesame Street didn’t have songs about homosexuality, porn and one night stands. Or if it did, I missed them.

Subject matter aside, this is a great production. The cast are, simply, fantastic. Not a missed line of dialogue or bum note the entire performance, and all this while operating the puppets.

It is an unusual sight to see the puppeteers on-stage alongside their furry acting pals. Rather than hiding behind walls, the cast run around in dark grey jeans and shirts moving and voicing the puppets. Clever positioning often allows one cast member to play two on-stage characters at once – one they’re controlling and one that another cast member is manipulating.

I did notice that the puppeteers also acted out their puppets’ parts – that is, as well as the voices they made facial expressions and so forth that matched the character’s mood. I don’t know if this is something they’re “supposed” to do, or if it just makes it easier to control the puppet realistically but it’s something to watch!

There are some very humorous moments, and the sound in the King’s was spot on. Often at theatres the sound just doesn’t work for less traditional musicals and the words in songs can be lost. Not so here, which is ideal as I’d say 75%+ of the story and jokes are in the songs.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t think it was as good as I’d been led to believe. The humour certainly kept me amused for the 2 1/4-ish hours running time, but I’d not say my ribs were aching by the time I left. Maybe on another night. On the other hand, I certainly wasn’t disappointed and time didn’t drag.

I reckon there will still be a few tickets left for this week’s performances in Glasgow and if you have the time and cash (and a gutter-level sense of humour) then there are worse ways to spend an evening!

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