Avenue Q | Tour | Review

The Assembly Halls Theatre, Tunbridge Wells until 6th June.

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Avenue Q | Tour | Review

 

Anyone who is a regular reader of Theatre South East will know that I consider Avenue Q as one of my guilty pleasures. Not only have I seen it in the West End several times but when I saw it at the Hawth in Crawley last year (review here), it went straight into my top ten theatre trips of 2014.

In you follow Theatre South East’s twitter feed you will know that I have been very excited that the naughty puppets were going to be back in the South East this week. I could not wait to check out the new cast for the 2015 tour.

When I spent a day on Avenue Q in April, I learned how difficult it was to even hold and use the puppets let alone give it a character and personality. The cast had only been rehearsing a couple of weeks and were getting to grips with the techniques; I was interested to see how they had fared since then.

If you have not heard of Avenue Q, where have you been? Avenue Q is a street where puppets and humans live, sing and dance alongside each other. Imagine Sesame Street… but then throw in adult themes such as racism, pornography and homosexuality, and a delightful mix of characters that include Kate, a kindergarten teacher who wants to open a school for Monsters, Princeton who after graduating is wondering what to do with his degree, naughty bears that suggest lots of baaaad ideas and even Gary Coleman!

How did the new cast fare? I am thrilled to say that this show just gets better and better.

Director Cressida Carré and puppet coach Nigel Plaskitt have yet again come up trumps. New to the cast and the art of manipulating puppets are Richard Lowe and Sarah Harlington, who together with 2014 tour members Stephen Arden and Jessica Parker bring all the amazing puppets to life and give them distinct, relatable characters with pitch perfect voices. I am always fascinated to watch how smoothly they transfer from one puppet/character to another . Richard Morse, Arina II and Etisyai Philip are the ‘humans’ who live on the street and are just as talented and a sheer pleasure to watch. Avenue Q is certainly a fun place to live.

The whole show is injected with wicked humour and hilarious songs co-written by Robert Lopez who was also behind The Book of Mormon and the mega-hit Frozen. They are catchy and memorable and I defy anyone not to be able to hum several of the songs on their way home. We certainly did.

I don’t like to be predictable, but once again I absolutely loved Avenue Q – I came out of The Assembly Halls Theatre Tunbridge Wells with a goofy grin on my face and a song in my heart. Go and see it! Don’t take the children though… 😀

Sammi O’Neill

2nd June 2015

Avenue Q remains at The Assembly Halls Theatre, Tunbridge Wells until Saturday 6th June 2015 and then continues on it’s nationwide tour.

More details click here.

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