Avenue Q



Music and lyrics: Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Director: Jason Moore

Details: Noel Coward Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4AU
Tube: Leicester Square
Performances: Mon-Thu 8.00 pm, Fri-Sat 8.30 pm, Matinees Fri 5.30 pm and Sat 5.00 pm
Running time: 2h15

Avenue QIn short: A deliciously irreverent look into the lives of the young and confused, with Sesame Street-style puppets leading the action.

In full: The idea of a fusion cast of humans and puppets might seem absurd, and it probably is. But that's the charm of Avenue Q, where everyone's life sucks and there's barely enough money to pay for rent and beer. This show is quirky, outrageous and borderline obscene, but it's so sidesplittingly funny you won't want to miss it.

Follow lead puppet Princeton, fresh out of university with an English degree and desperate to find his purpose in life. At his new apartment on Avenue Q he meets a host of bizarre characters, including the innocent Kate Monster, sexually confused Rod and former child star Gary Coleman (who works as the apartment superintendent and sells his possessions on eBay to make money).

The escapades of Princeton and his neighbours, which are ridiculous but somewhat true to life, are set to a soundtrack that's as zany as it gets. Tunes such as "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" and "If You Were Gay" move the action along, and you won't quickly forget "The Internet Is for Porn". To be sure, Avenue Q isn't suited for children or the eternally politically correct, but loosen up. You'll have more fun that way.

Despite its goofiness, Avenue Q is cleverly crafted. Actors quickly switch from puppet to puppet but never miss a beat. And the cast can even put on a good show when the roles are rearranged for a night. Clare Foster, who normally voices Kate Monster's uptight boss, Mrs. Thistletwat, gave an excellent performance as Kate herself and buxom lounge singer Lucy the Slut (roles regularly played by Julie Atherton). Jon Robyns is a charmer as both Princeton and Rod, and Simon Lipkin does double duty as mischievous Nicky and creepy hermit Trekkie Monster.

You'll laugh. You might cry. You'll laugh 'til you cry. And believe it or not, you might actually take home a valuable life lesson. So take a trip down the avenue and see for yourself what all the fuss is about

- Jill Hilbrenner

Other Critics
- 'An outrageously funny musical for the iPod generation. Cross Sesame Street with the Muppet Show, give it an X rating and slap on a Government Health Warning that too much laughter can make your sides ache and you've got Avenue Q. A must see.' Johnnie Walker, Radio 2
- ''[T]he spirit of Avenue Q is humane and healthy. After all, it's not every show that manages to be tongue-in-cheek and hand-on-heart, while having its arm up a puppet's bum.' Paul Taylor, The Independent