Review – Avenue Q @ Gielgud Theatre

Avenue Q Poster

When you hear the word musical, what is your first thought? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was men of questionable sexuality prancing around on stage and women with infeasibly high voices caterwauling away to various tunes so loaded with cheese that the bosses at Dairylea are shitting themselves.

Avenue Q is not like that. Not in the slightest.

If you were to associate a musical with puppets having loud sex and swearing at each other whilst another repeatedly masturbates to porn in the background, then that is a bit closer to one of the musical numbers in Avenue Q. I don’t think that I need to follow that sentence with an explanation of the fact that Avenue Q is definitely not suitable for children. Strong language, sex references and indeed sex litter the show, so unless your children are incredibly mature, it isn’t the best idea for an evening out.

I finally got to see the show on Saturday evening having wanted to see it ever since I first heard of its existence. Before I start the proper review, I would like to say it was INCREDIBLE!

I have been in possession of the soundtrack for almost a year now and thus know every word of all of the musical numbers and have always considered them funny. It’s incredible how much funnier they are in the context of the show and complete with a bit of performance.

For those who don’t know, the acting is a mixture of actors and on-stage puppeteers who do the voices for the characters whilst also operating them using a variety of different methods. There were even certain occasions where the actor voicing one of the puppets was in fact holding and voicing a different puppet at the time. It’s an intriguing way of working and one which works well and does mine laughs.

The lead actor in the current run is Daniel Boys who is, in every way possible, awesome. He was awesome during the show and he was awesome when we met him afterwards signing stuff and posing for photos. In fact, all of the actors were brilliant during the show, both vocally and in terms of comic timing. Some of the most humorous moments came from simply silence and a turn of the head or a quick gesture with the puppet. It was textbook theatrical comedy at its absolute best.

Avoiding the obviously hilarious characters like Trekkie Monster (the porn-loving furry fluff ball) and Christmas Eve (Japanese failed therapist), the best characters of the show were a delightful pair known as the Bad Idea Bears. Their purpose was to appear at inopportune times and persuade Princeton (the protagonist) to carry out bad ideas (such a buying a case of beer instead of something useful) in a deceptively cheerful and lovable manner. At one point, they tried to encourage Princeton to hang himself in a true exhibition of comic timing. Towards the end of the show, they announce that they have reformed and discovered Scientology, a joke that got mild reaction from the audience, other than our (internet-based) segment of the crowd who broke into rapturous applause.

It was an absolutely stunning show in every sense and it is one I would definitely recommend if you are ever looking for a musical to see or just something to make you laugh.

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