Avenue Q – Gaiety Theatre – Review
Dates: 13th May – 18th May
Princeton is a recent college graduate trying to find his place in the world. First off, he has to find a place to live. He starts looking in the salubrious Avenue A but ends up in the rougher end of town, Avenue Q. There, he meets Kate Monster, a kindergarten assistant teacher; and Brian, an aspiring comedian, among others. Kate dreams of one day opening a Monstersori school, for young “people of fur”. The story tells of Princeton’s search for a higher purpose in his life, among the varied characters in Avenue Q.
Avenue Q first opened in 2003 and has toured the world since. It is a regular in the West End and currently ranks as the 24th longest running show on Broadway. The original production won a number of Tony awards in 2004 including Best Musical, Book, and Score. The show was created by Jeff Marx and Robert Lopez. Lopez later went on to work on the Book of Mormon and the Disney film Frozen, for which he won an Academy Award.
This production is by Selladoor who have previously brought productions such as American Idiot and Madagascar to the Gaiety. This production is currently touring the UK with dates until next October. Dublin the only Irish date on this massive tour.
The stage contains a number of run down New York brownstones. These are the apartments of the various characters, who often appear in the windows. The walls of some of the apartments also open up to reveal the contents, but most of the action takes place in the front part of the stage. The puppeteers appear in plain sight, standing alongside their creations.
It seems strange to say this play is 16 years old as it still seems quite fresh and relevant. This must be down to the quality of the writing that has some very sharp moments and gags. The comedy is wild and irreverent and should sit well with fans of South Park or Family Guy. They are not afraid to poke fun at anyone and the wisecracks continue throughout. While Avenue Q is known as the play where puppets spout foul language and have sex, there are many scenes much more complex than this evaluation. ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’, or so says one of its main songs. On the face of it, it sounds like a throw away comment, but actually it’s an idea that has become more prevalent in recent years. When Panti took to the stage of our National Theatre for her now famous ‘Noble Call’, she was actually expressing quite a similar idea, that racism and homophobia are part of our psyche and impossible to escape. When these ideas are delivered in song by Monsters or blue faced puppets, it becomes all the more complex.