Avenue Q at Bradford Alhambra Review

If anyone’s every wondered “where’s my life going?”, “who am I?” and “what’s my purpose?” this adult take on classic puppet shows such as Sesame Street offers a fun take on how to deal with life’s misunderstandings, misadventures and misfortunes.

Billed rather frivolously as a show about naughty puppets, Avenue Q actually addresses some quite poignant issues in a hilariously brash, crass and over-exaggerated way. Much like our childhood puppet friends, the characters in Avenue Q sing their way through advice and wonderings on life’s big issues. From racism and porn to navigating love rivals and unemployment, there’s enough plot to ensure this fast-paced production keeps the audience interested as well as simply laughing along at the jokes (though there are more than enough to keep us entertained!)

I actually find myself really empathising with the characters, particularly our two leads Princeton and Kate Monster. Their insecurities and shortcomings are heartbreaking and adorable to watch and this more serious sub-plot allows the more silly humour to land effectively without becoming irritating.

The cast are simply superb, in particular Lawrence Smith as Princeton/Rod, Cecily Redman as Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut and Tom Steedon as Nicky/Trekkie Monster/Bad Idea Bear. All three jump between their characters with effortless ease and the vocals are spectacular. Cecily Redman especially impresses with her quick changes between sweet Kate Monster and sassy Lucy the Slut. She manages to be comical without overdoing it, which only adds to the impressive comedic effect.

The puppetry is particularly impressive. To act alongside a puppet while keeping the attention and spotlight still firmly placed on it is a mighty skill yet all puppeteers master this without any apparent difficulty. I watch the human cast members, of course, but I’m captivated by their puppet counterparts and the slick movement of these creatures deserves recognition.

My preconceptions of this production were quite some way off, and I enjoyed the show much more than I’d originally expected. Any fans of musical theatre or comedy will love this show.

Catch Avenue Q at Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, until 30th March 2019.

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