Back by popular demand, those naughty puppets return to the Brisbane Arts Theatre for another romp along Avenue Q.
Although the ever-youthful puppets are the same, the humans are a fresh team of actors and puppeteers, under the direction of John Boyce.
For those who don’t know about this seemingly cute, family puppet musical, the first thing I’ll say is DON’T BRING YOUR KIDS!
This is a more grown-up version of those loveable Sesame Street muppets who dance, sing, fight, watch porn, and (wait for it) have sex – on stage. Facing unemployment, relationship problems, addictions and racism, these muppets will make sure you never look at Sesame Street quite the same way again.
The cast is a mixture of human characters and puppets, which are manipulated by visible puppeteers/actors dressed in black.
Princeton, fresh out of college and cash, finds the only place he can afford to live in New York is in a run-down apartment block on Avenue Q. Situated down-downtown, this is where the not-so-affluent humans, puppets, and monsters live together, mostly in harmony but really underneath we know ‘everyone’s a little bit racist’.
While looking for his purpose in life, Princeton meets his neighbour Kate (Kelsie McDonald) and instantly takes a shine to the cute little monster. On their first date at a comedy club, they get plastered and have wild abandoned sex. Watching two muppets go for it onstage is both bizarre and hilarious; the frenetic positions they got themselves suggested they were going through the Tantric Sex Guide in fast forward.
While the muppet sex scene was a highlight, the showstopper of the evening was the crudest (and funniest) song of all ‘The Internet is for Porn’, sung by porn addict Trekkie Monster (Joshua Bloomfield).
Bloomfield was also the puppeteer of Nicky, encouraging his roomie Rod (Tyler Stevens) to get out of the closet with ‘If You Were Gay’.
The multi-talented cast have good comedic timing, are skilled puppeteers and their singing captured that unmistakable Broadway sound with its tight harmonies. Melissa Weston’s sultry voice gave Lucy The Slut the chutzpah necessary to make the other characters gag for her. Natalie Murtagh, as the human character Gary Coleman, the former child TV star turned superintendent, brought a burst of energy onto the stage with her robust singing voice.
Avenue Q is a coming-of-age story that satirises such taboo subjects as racism, homosexuality, unemployment, and displays of flesh (well fur), that only puppets could get away with. It’s great adult fun.