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Avenue Q: Birmingham New Alexandra Theatre - Review

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Unforgettable after dark muppet show
Imagine a 'blue' version of Sesame Street where muppets face the stresses of everyday life like unemployment, coming out as gay and one night stands.

Yes, that pretty much sums up Avenue Q--the hilarious after-dark muppet show that is a mix of satire and romance with the most unforgettable sex scene you can imagine.

Avenue Q1
Avenue Q is satire mixed with romance

Following on from successes on Broadway and London's West End, the Tony award-winning comedy musical is on a UK tour that stopped off at Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre from September 16 to 20.

At first, I was unsure how it would work with the puppeteers coming out on stage, clearly holding the naughty muppets on their hands.

But it was amazing just how quickly you forget they are there and focus purely on the muppets and storylines.

There are 11 performers of puppeteers and actors, who make up the larger than life fun characters on Avenue Q, including a woman playing former Different Strokes star Gary Coleman, who is the butt of many jokes as the building's superintendent.

Whereas Sesame Street has Bert and Ernie and the Cookie Monster, here we have closet gay Republican Rod and his roommate Nicky along with Trekkie Monster, who is labelled a pervert and spends all day looking at porn.

Meanwhile, we have jobless graduate Princeton, who is looking for his purpose in life when he gets caught between loveable furry Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut in a love triangle encouraged by the Bad Idea Bears.

Avenue Q2
A blue version of Sesame Street with unforgettable sex scenes

With songs including The Internet is for Porn and Everyone's A Little Bit Racist, Avenue Q is a quirky, on the pulse comedy (despite first opening in 2003) that can't help but make you smile.

It's a no brainer when you realise that the show was co-created by award-winning Robert Lopez, who also co-created The Book of Mormon and songs for Disney's Frozen, as well as writing work for TV comedies Scrubs, The Simpsons and Southpark.

Avenue Q first opened off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 2003, before transferring to Broadway later that year where it won three Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.

It's naughty with moments that will make you gasp for its political incorrectness, but it's very funny with a talented cast that is the perfect antidote to a long tiring day.

Rating: 8/10

Avenue Q 4
A talented cast make Avenue Q a success.

Avenue Q
New Alexandra Theatre
September 16 – September 20, 2014
Tickets cost £17.90 - £39.40 by calling 0844 871 3011 or visiting the theatre website.

Running Time: 2hrs 30 mins | Suitable for 14

Watch a trailer for Avenue Q here:

Cast and Crew

Stephen Arden - Nicky/Trekkie Monster/ Bad Idea Bear
Richard Morse - Brian
Jessica Parker - Mrs T /Bad Idea Bear
Tom Steedon - Princeton/Rod
Lucie Mae Sumner - Kate Monster/Lucy The Slut
Jacqueline Tate - Christmas Eve
Ellena Vincent - Gary Coleman
Greg Airey - Ensemble
Will Hawksworth - Ensemble
Emily-Jane Morris - Ensemble/Dance Captain
Etisyai Philip - Ensemble

Creative Team

Music and Lyrics Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Book Jeff Whitty
Original Concept Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Director Cressida Carré
Choreographer Cressida Carré
Set Design Richard Evans
Lighting Design Charlie Morgan Jones
Sound Design Chris Bogg and DBS Solutions
Puppet Designed Paul Jomain
Orchestrations Stephen Oremus
Arrangements Stephen Oremus
Producers Sell a Door Theatre Co and Richard Darbourne Ltd.
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Why? Muppets as you have never seen them before
When: Until Saturday September 20
Phone: 0844 871 3011
Where: New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Cost: £17.90 - £39.40
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