If there’s one musical every TQS reader should go and see, it’s Avenue Q, even if you really hate musicals. It’s a show with a weird and wonderful mixture of singing and occasionally naked puppets, universal truths and complete and utter hilarity the whole way through. For us who have the pleasure of living up north, it’s showing at the Leeds Grand until this Saturday, 21st July.
The show was conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who realised that the “yoof” of today aren’t really into musicals and wanted to produce something that responded to that, with a show that was modern, relevant and ultimately, funny. Starting out as a TV show that parodied Sesame Street, the show grew up to become a full scale massive hit on Broadway and on the West End.
Here’s why you’ll like the show; you’ll see yourself in the story, in the puppets and you can (sometimes cringingly) relate to the lyrics in every single one of the songs. That’s because the show tackles what it’s like to end up realising that your life sucks a little bit, but it’s okay that it does. Oh and you’ll also laugh your head off the whole way through.
Some of the life lessons you’ll learn through the medium of puppet song include: the internet is for porn, everyone’s a little bit racist and everyone takes pleasure in the pain of others. And you’ll learn that there’s not a lot you can do with a BA in English (I should know, I’ve got one).
The show is incredibly well put together, testament to a great production team, headed up by Director Jason Moore and a so-talented-it-makes-you-want-to-scream, cast. Stand out performances come from the two leading characters, Kate and Princeton, played by Katherine Moraz and Sam Lupton respectively. They also take on the mantle of the two sub-plot characters; Lucy the Slut and Rod. Both of these actors seemed to put every possible bit of enthusiasm and energy in their bodies into their performances, with incredible puppetry skill and surely the most expressionate faces on the planet.
What’s so fantastic about Avenue Q is that the actors with puppets truly embody their characters too, so that their expressions and movements become an extension of the puppet. You won’t see anything like that anywhere else on a typical weekday in July.
If your life sucks, go see Avenue Q.
Avenue Q is playing at Leeds Grand Theatre until the 7th July, call the box office on 0844 848 2700 or visit the website to buy tickets.
Review by Heather Healy (Twitter: @heatherhealy)