Got back late last night from a fun evening of brilliant entertainment at Louth Riverhead Theatre watching their production with Blaze of Avenue Q.
I hadn’t seen the show before and heard a few things about it; I heard comments that it’s cheeky, it’s naughty, it’s a bit rude, it’s edgy; my nephew said its like ‘the muppets twisted sister’ or ‘Family Guy to the Simpsons’. So I had some expectations, but nothing could have prepared me for the lovely, simple story, brilliantly observed comedy, and catchy songs that would stand up completely out of the context of the show. Yes, it has some of those moments that if you’re not open minded, or up for a bit of naughtiness you might be shocked, but overall it’s a show that would make everyone think about our own morality and the way we all think and react about subjects that are often taboo.
So over to the show itself; imagine we’re back in Sesame Street, where we’re transported to a dingy set, a road in the US with trash cans and ‘for rent’ signs (well done to the set and backstage crew!). In comes a recent graduate looking for cheap accommodation, no purpose in life, believing his life can’t get any worse, realising that real life isn’t what he expected, and in come the other residents who show him that in fact, most people also have bad things happening in their lives and all is not as good as it appears.
I’m not going to give too much away of the story because for me, each song and each scene was a wonderful surprise (yes even the naughty bits!), and it wouldn’t do justice explaining the plot or the specific developments. What I will say though, is that I was made to think, ‘what do I think about that?’, ‘am I really like that?’, ‘do I really behave in that manner?’, ‘is that what I believe?’.
There was a cast of 9 ‘real people’ who mastered the art of being puppeteers (despite sore shoulders!) in such a way that the audience were constantly drawn to the puppet rather than the puppeteer. They have perfected the movements, the characterisations (which I didn’t believe was even possible in a puppet!) and the transitions, where sometimes puppets were shared, all completed without the audience hardly even being aware. And one other thing I didn’t bank on, was the fabulous voices of each individual puppet, no small feat for those managing two puppets, at a few points with one on each hand, having a conversation with themselves – pure genius – congratulations!
We’ve all got friends like ‘Bad Idea Bears’, leading us astray, a few of my friends came to mind, and we all sometime feel that other people are a bit too opinionated, but actually aren’t we all in some way? Very strangely, there are definitely a few lessons to be learnt watching this show!
The singing was brilliant, as was the small live band supporting under the leadership of the Musical Director Jacqueline Wilson (Director of Blaze), with Alex Frost and Matthew Gidlow. This is Rob Bishop’s musical directing debut, which he did as well as appearing in this production, with more than one puppet, and one voice to contend with, brilliant!
Cast members, in order of appearance (with their dress rehearsal puppets):
Princeton/Rob – Rob Bishop
Brian – Jamie Harris
Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut – Hayley Wrightam
Nicky/Trekkie Monster – Steven Greenwood
Christmas Eve – Helen Sargent
Gary Coleman/Mrs Thistletwat – Nikki Law
Bad Idea Bears – Kennedy Gardiner and Adam Barlow
Newcomer/Narrator/Ensemble – David Wrightam
The show runs from Wed 14th to Saturday 17th February, so only a couple of chances left to see this brilliant spectacle. If you want something completely different, something to make you think, laugh and just have a great time, get your tickets now. Tickets: £12 / Under 18s £6, TheatreCard £11 / Under 18s £5
Telephone: 01507 600350
The Box Office is open for advanced booking every Monday to Saturday from 10.00am – 1.00pm.
The Riverhead Theatre
The Louth Playgoers Website says:
“Filled with gut-busting humour and a delightfully catchy score, not to mention puppets, Avenue Q is a truly unique show that has quickly become a favourite for audiences everywhere. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show; a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good and life lessons are learned.
THIS PRODUCTION IS NOT SUITABLE FOR AUDIENCES UNDER 14 YEARS
It is safe to say that if you are an adult with a good sense of humour, then AVENUE Q is right up your street.
Is it appropriate for kids? Er, well, this is where it gets a bit fuzzy. If your teenager is mature enough to see a musical about issues such as sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn, then they’ll probably love AVENUE Q too! Only you can judge. It’s hard to say what exact age is right to see AVENUE Q – parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children. But we promise you this – if you do bring your teenagers to AVENUE Q – they’ll think you’re really cool!
Tickets: £12 / Under 18s £6
TheatreCard £11 / Under 18s £5