Review: Avenue Q, Bristol Hippodrome

Posted on Feb 9 2016 - 4:23pm by Samantha Clark
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Life is full of uncertainties, self discoveries and wonderment, it’s true for us all and it’s no different for those that live on Avenue Q. Princeton, who arrives to Avenue Q questioning what to do with life after his time at college obtaining a BA in English, encounters those same dilemmas we all question as adults. The genius creators Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon, Frozen) and Jeff Marx (Scrubs, Disney’s Bear in the Big Blue House) introduce this poignant production that allows us to laugh at ourselves (you’re bound to relate in someway whatever stage you are in life be it past or present) and explore normally risque topics such as racism, pornography and sexual orientation in a fun, musical, puppetry mastermind. It’s basically Sesame Street for adults.

If you’re a fan of spitting image, family guy and the like, you’ll love Avenue Q. The tone and humour is perhaps more shocking when portrayed in puppet form but I think that’s what makes it that much funnier- especially those sex scenes, who’s ever seen puppet nudity before? It’s a musical like no other with songs like ‘Internet is for Porn, ‘Everybody’s a Little Bit Racist’, ‘It Sucks to be Me’ and ‘If You Were Gay’. There is appeal for the masses, even those that are perceptively prudish are likely to have a few laughs at the conversations explored by completely unexpected, cute characters. And if you’re a fan of crude jokes, tantalizing controversy then this is right up your street, or avenue. In particular, I did love the bad idea bears, we’ve all been in similar circumstances and there was always someone (or something) egging us on to do those things, right?

Jessica Parker  and Stephen Arden as The Bad Idea  Bears in Avenue Q. Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography

Jessica Parker and Stephen Arden as The Bad Idea Bears in Avenue Q. Photo Credit Matt Martin Photography

The puppeteers may be plainly obvious and occasionally I’d find my eye drawn to the actors simulating them, but most of the time you’d even forget they were there and occasionally I’d see the puppet as a whole with the actors legs as the puppets. Some would argue the point of puppets if you could see the actors but the puppets are intrinsic to this musical as the concepts explored by these characters wouldn’t be as funny nor perhaps as accepted if it came from a human, but that’s part of the genius of this play. This is acting, and multi-tasking at its best- for the actors that mimic the puppets, the actors abilities to create several distinctive voices to create an ensemble, the actors talents as singers, the actors that work with the puppets and the ability to work it together so succinctly.

The only downside was that during a few of the numbers I’d miss a punchline or two where the music superseded the voices but that is personal experience and it didn’t diminish the overall extremely positive experience of the production. I’d strongly advocate seeing this musical as I’d guarantee you’ll not have seen nor will ever see anything quite so tongue in cheek hilarious. And we could all do with a good laugh every now and then don’t you think. You don’t even have to take my word for it either. Avenue Q is an international Broadway smash that has won several awards and based on the audience’s responses last night, it’s not hard to see why. As they say, you’d be a muppet to miss it.

This production of Avenue Q was brought to you today by the word purpose. We hope you have fun!

Featured image photo credit Matt Martin Photography

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