“The Internet is really, really great…”
Avenue Q is a musical that makes frequent contemptuous references to black people, Jews, homosexuals, Republicans, pornography and sex… yet it could not be more hilarious if it tried. Avenue Q hit the New Theatre, Cardiff this week and did not disappoint. Providing a hilarious platform of discussion between puppets, everyday life and a few taboos thrown in for fun, the show has something for audience’s who are both passionate theatre goers, as well as those who are not. The characters’ essential needs’ to find a ‘purpose’ in life with the aid of an alarming multitude of colour, vocal ability and bad language effectively summarises Cressida Carre’s honourable and technically captivating direction of Avenue Q.
The talent of the entire cast must be accredited, as they all exceptionally surpassed the notion of the ‘triple threat’ (acting, dancing and singing). Whilst doing this, they also effectively created a fourth platform which consisted of controlling puppets, with the help and aid of professional Puppet coach, Nigel Plaskitt. Many of the actors and actresses such as Stephen Arden, Sarah Harlington, Richard Lowe and Jessica Parker surpassed expectations by characterising and controlling more than one puppet which further emphasised the versatility and talent upheld by these outstanding performers.
The story of Avenue Q follows newbie to the Q, Princeton, played fantastically by Richard Lowe, as he rents a house in the friendly, somewhat unordinary neighbourhood of Avenue Q. The characters he meets, both human and puppet, have a significant impact on his life, decisions which in turn shape the heart- warming ending.
Credit must be given to Arts Ed graduate, Sarah Harlington who is no stranger to the role of Kate Monster due to performing in Avenue Q’s 2015 UK tour. Her vocal aptitude and comic timing shone through at several occasions throughout the performance which lured the audience to appreciate her theatrical talent. Other than Harlington, credit should also be given to Christmas Eve played by Arina II. Arina’s voice, characterisation and her hilarious song “The More You Ruv Someone” further highlighted her raw talent of musical theatre.
The programme’s statement of the performance being “suitable for little monsters” could not be any more accurate. With characters such as Lucy the Slut and scenes of puppet sex (don’t ask, just see) in songs such as “You Can Be As Loud As The Hell You Want”, this musical may not be the cuddly, fun- loving pantomime-esque performance you were originally expecting. Despite this, be prepared for a hilarious, engaging and catchy performance when you take a trip to Avenue Q.
Review by George Caulton @GeorgeCault