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Avenue Q is witty, rude and extremely funny
Leeds Grand Theatre
Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez are the creators of this hugely successful, and somewhat alternative Broadway musical Avenue Q, which is being performed in Leeds until Saturday.
“We thought of coming up with an adult puppet show and realised that every single problem in adult life could be turned into a funny, mock educational song,” says Robert Lopez. Thus Avenue Q was born.
A witty, rude and extremely funny show, Avenue Q combines a cast of humans and puppets, who tackle subjects such as dating, racism, being gay and finding your purpose in life. And just how are you supposed to pay the bills with a BA in English? The story follows Princeton, a bright-eyed college graduate, as he desperately tries to follow his dreams. A tiny bank balance, the distraction of a busty blonde and weird and wonderful friends and neighbours lead Princeton on a story of self-discovery.
There are three ‘human characters’ – Brian and his Japanese fiancée Christmas Eve plus the adult character of Gary Coleman (who was the child actor in the sitcom Different Strokes). There are also nine puppet characters controlled by four puppeteers, who are amazing.
Sam Lupton takes on the main role of Princeton and also Rod, the Gay resident on Avenue Q, and is superb as both, as is Katherine Moraz with her portrayals of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Supporting these two are Chris Thatcher as Nicky, Rod’s flatmate, who also plays the part of Trekkie Monster and one of the two bears, whilst the other bear is controlled by Daniella Gibb, who also plays Mrs T, Kate Monster’s employer at the nursery school.
I thought Julie Yammanee and Edward Judge were terrific in their roles of Christmas Eve and Brian, whilst Matthew J Henry was hilarious as Gary Coleman.
The set, designed by Anna Louizos, is a group of five houses on Avenue Q, and is extremely eye-catching. The production makes good use of the various windows in the houses for a number of songs, particularly in It Sucks to Be Me.
The choreography by Ken Roberson is outstanding, as is the musical direction by Mark Smith. Director Jason Moore can feel extremely proud of this production, which is one of the funniest I have seen in a long time.