Avenue Q @ Theatre Royal, Winchester
Avenue Q was a revolutionary show when it first appeared. The mix of puppets, vulgarity, a little bit of stereotyping and a brutally honest opinion on things shocked a lot of audiences. When I first saw it at the Noël Coward a number of people had bizarrely arrived with young children in tow. Needless to say most of them left in the interval. I didn’t though, with its shocks, laughs and surprisingly tender moments this show hooked me from the off and now it’s back with a fresh young cast and touring the UK.
Tonight’s crowd were a more discerning lot though, many had seen the show before and were quoting away in the bar before the performance. Equally there was a sizeable support for local lad Tom Steedon who took the lead role of Princeton as well as stuck up Rod, who is hiding from the truth about himself.
The rest of the cast take up multiple puppet roles too, the exceptions being the trio of Brian & Christmas Eve (Richard Morse & Jacqueline Tate) and Ellena Vincent as a particularly live-wire Gary Coleman. Whether they’re exclaiming that Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist or extolling the joys of Schadenfreude this is a talented group who are clearly loving every second of the production!
Princeton’s love interest comes in the form of sweet yet sassy Kate Monster while he is easily distracted by Lucy The Slut. Both are played with aplomb by Lucie-Mae Sumner who gives both a unique character, even when acting out a conversation between the two. Her rendition of There’s a Fine Fine Line will pull at the heart strings and is delivered in such an understated manner compared to the rest of the show that it hits home with sledgehammer strength.
My favourite character has long been Trekkie Monster though and Stephen Arden gives him heapsof heart to go alongside his perverted outer shell… and if you’re not singing along by the end of The Internet Is For Porn then you must be in denial!
If you haven’t taken a trip to Avenue Q yet, well you’re missing out so head along at your first opportunity!