BWW Review: AVENUE Q at The Gaiety Theatre
An Audacious Education
Deliciously inappropriate, scandalously funny and mischievously provocative, 16 years after its inception, Avenue Q continues to astound and delight.
Inspired by Jim Henson's beloved Muppets, co-creators Jeff Maxx and Bobby Lopez fashioned their quirky and endearing creations on themselves, their friends (and possibly 3 Sesame Street characters)! Thoughtfully inviting Henson's daughter and widow to their first reading, the production gratefully received their blessing from the outset.
The tale follows the intertwined lives of a group of furry friends in the shabby New York neighbourhood of Avenue Q. Capturing the audience's imagination with their humorous and poignant depictions of real life dilemmas, this modern day Aesop's Fable shares a meaningful (if sometimes politically incorrect) moral lesson with every scene.
This fantastic cast comprises of 10 beguiling puppets, 8 puppeteers and 3 human actors. The puppeteers have the mental dexterity of London cab drivers: deftly manipulating the puppet's movements and expressions; nimbly performing as ventriloquists and despite being clearly visible, steering our focus to their colourful charges.
It is evident that every component of this uplifting production has been a labor of love. From Paul Jomain's entrancing puppets to the meticulous detail of Richard Evan's set design. Cressida Carré's insightful direction ensured a fast paced, supercharged performance full of warmth and humanity.
Avenue Q has run on and off-Broadway since 2003 and is slated to close on May 26th, 2019. Garnering a global fan base, it has spawned national tours within the US and International productions and tours on the West End, in Ireland, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Nominated for 6 Tony Awards in 2004, Avenue Q won Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Grateful to have attended the original Broadway production, I was completely mesmerized and charmed by this touring company at The Gaiety. The music and lyrics are terribly catchy and you will find yourself humming the tunes days later.
Sesame Street's purpose was to educate the youth. Avenue Q will give adults an audacious but equally meaningful education. And if you are lucky, it may even help you discover your purpose. This is a not-to-be-missed endearing gem of a musical.
Avenue Q runs at The Gaiety Theatre until May 18th, 2019