Saturday, 14 June 2014

Avenue Q

King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars
It doesn't matter how wilfully potty-mouthed it gets, there's something
delightfully and reassuringly old-fashioned about Robert Lopez, Jeff
Marx and Jeff Whitty's scurrilous Sesame Street inspired hit puppet
musical. This is despite a set of furry characters who not only swear,
but have one-night stands, screw each other over and mess up their
lives in a manner that would make Kermit The Frog blush.

As wide-eyed but unemployed English graduate Princeton moves into the
down-at-heel but colourful multi-cultural boulevard of broken dreams
that gives the show its title, the monsters that occupy it are either
porn-crazed sociopaths, in-the-closet queens, slutty night-club singers
or, like Princeton's neighbour Kate, a love-lorn school-teacher. The
people aren't much better, not even down on his luck real life child
star of kids TV favourite Diff'rent Strokes Gary Coleman, here played
by a woman.

Cressida Carre's touring revival for the team behind the increasingly
enterprising Sell A Door company doesn't mess with this formula in a
production that puts eleven people, including four puppeteers, onstage
with an entire community of pastel-coloured creations. With a set of
1970s TV sit-com style show-tunes dominating, where Sesame Street –
whose creators don't have anything to do with Avenue Q in any way – was
borne of an inner-city counter-cultural melting pot, Lopez, Marx and
Whitty's  show is part austerity culture slacker comedy, part seemingly
politically incorrect post South Park cartoon giving the world the
finger.  In the end, with the puppeteers doubling up as a chorus line
as everything comes good for Princeton, Kate and the gang, both come
from the same sentimental and gloriously harmonious place.

The Herald, June 12th 2014


ends

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