There can be few who call themselves musical theatre lovers who have yet to see Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s naughty but (ultimately) nice satire on the lives of the twenty-something human and not-so human, residents of a downbeat New York street. It is testament to the popularity of the piece that after four years of almost continual touring since leaving the West End, the show is still packing in audiences around the country.
Neither those returning to the piece nor first timers, will be disappointed by Sell a Door Theatre Company’s latest production. The gang’s all here: Princeton, Rod, Nicky, Kate, Brian, Christmas Eve, The Bad Idea Bears and of course, Trekkie Monster, as are the now infamous songs “The Internet is for Porn”, ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?”
In comparison to shows such as Book of Mormon, with whom it shares a composer (Robert Lopez), Avenue Qis beginning to look more like the naughty little sibling rather than the controversial, ground-breaking, triple Tony award-winning daddy of modern musicals that it once was (the Gary Coleman reference in particular dates the piece badly). But, that said, it is still a winner. So well does it articulate the foibles of modern life and relationships that it never fails to raise a smile.
Stand-out amongst the engaging cast is Stephen Arden who skilfully juggles the multiple roles of Nicky, a Bad Idea Bear and the show-stealing Trekkie Monster with an ease that belies the difficult character changes. His physicality and vibrant energy are impressive as is Emily-Jane Morris as Christmas Eve whose knock out vocals bring the house down in “The More You Ruv Someone”.
Less than successful is Lucie-Mae Sumner who, whilst utterly captivating in her characterisation of Kate Monster is less convincing in the role of Lucy The Slut and her thin vocals fail to do justice to one of the show’s most iconic songs “There’s a Fine, Fine, Line”.
Avenue Q still retains its ability to thoroughly entertain and remains as irreverent, infectious and utterly irresistible as it ever has.