It’s hard to believe that Avenue Q is the funniest, yet somehow exceedingly progressive, show of the year. There is no surprise that this muscial has won a number of awards. Throughout the show the audience around me howled with laugher, to the point where I often looked around to make sure a pack of wolves didn’t join us. The issues discussed in the show, through the nastalgic methods of our favourite childhood shows, are at the forefront of society today. Gay acceptance, joblessness after university and racism to name a few. The show itself was a mastermind of connectivity; drawing audiences from different backgrounds in to all enjoy the same humour. There was nothing strictly offensive, unless you think puppet sex is objectionable. The show stives to remain modern, adjusting to current news by adding in ‘Donald Trump is only for now’
The puppets themselves were almost mocking Seasame Street, with a pair resembling Burt and Ernie named Rod and Nicky, played by actors Ross Hannaford and Vincent Hooper. Both played more than one puppet, transitioning between two or more voices and often conversing with themselves. Additional puppets such as Lucy the Slut, Kate Monster and Princeston rounded out the show in good fashion. The Bad Idea Bears often graced the stage to add peer-pressure to Princeston’s decisions but they were also a humourous highlight.
The puppeteers stole the show, demostrating their skills in vocals and accents. Vincent Hooper voiced three of puppets with Nicky, a Bad Idea Bear and Trekkie Monster, transitioning from an uptight republician to a voice similar to Cookie Monster. Ross Hannaford shined as the main character (Princeston and Rod), his vocals impressive, but his costar Amberly Cull stood out above the rest. Cull voiced both Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut, one a prim and proper teachering assistant and the other a husky bar singer. The velvety voice of Lucy the Slut was perhaps my favourite of the show. Cull’s movements on stage, from Lucy to Kate and back again medscene were seamless with another puppeteer taking charge of her neglected puppet while she changed roles. Other characters such as Brian and Christmas Eve added additional story lines. The ‘wow’ moment of the show for me was when Christmas Eve broke out into song in The More You Love Someone, changing from a slightly racist accent into charrismatic vibrato.
From What Do You Do With a BA in English? to For Now, Avenue Q resonated with the audience, allowing them to walk away contemptating their twenties. For those, like myself, in the midst of the crisis period after university, the show was a reasuring yet eye opening experience that discussed a number of questions keeping us awake at night. Purpose, a key point throughout the show, is something we are all looking for in life and, like Princeston, we all struggle to find it. Although this show is for adult only audiences, I highly recommend it to most viewers though I admit if you’re a self confessed prude you may find some scenes confronting.
Avenue Q is showing at Crown Theatre for a strictly limited season! For more information head to the Crown Perth Website.