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Review: Avenue Q at Theatre Severn
19 Feb 2016
by Dani Wozencroft

To be in a musical you have to be a fantastic actor and an excellent singer. But to be in Avenue Q you also have to be a brilliant puppeteer. And the whole cast at Theatre Severn last night were all three.

I kept wondering whether I should be looking at the humans or the puppets – truth is, it didn’t matter as they were equally as spellbinding.

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I didn’t know what to expect going to see Avenue Q, I’d heard about it a lot and knew it was pretty rude. For some reason I had always wanted to see it though (we tried to book up in London a couple of years ago but no luck).

Heading to the venue I realised I didn’t actually know what it was about. And my husband, who’s not the greatest fan of musicals, seemed pretty excited too.

Avenue Q is produced by Sell a Door Theatre Company, who have been touring this new production since 2014 and you can tell their expertise and experience from the very first scene. The 11 cast members make it seem easy as they switched between puppets, voices, songs and dialogue.

Particularly impressive were the performances of Sarah Harlington as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut, Richard Lowe as Princeton and Rod and Stephen Arden as Nicky and Trekkie Monster – all three using different voices for each different puppet they played, sometimes talking to each other. I’d like to know if they’ve ever done the wrong voice for the wrong puppet – I imagine it would be a no seeing as the performance was so slick.

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Featuring such classic songs as ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’, ‘The Internet is for Porn’ and ‘If You Were Gay’ – it’s not heartwarming in a romantic sense, but it really is heartwarming nonetheless. I found myself seeing the puppets as people, engaging in their emotions (not all of them, given the topic at times) and hoping they succeed.

The audience included people of a range of ages but I didn’t see one person who was offended or not enjoying it.

So if you’re into having a laugh and watching something completely different to the usual stage shows, I’d say Avenue Q is for you.

And there’s still time to go and see it with performances at 5.30pm and 8pm today (Friday) and 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Saturday 20th.

For more information or to book visit the website.

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