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Avenue Q - Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Can you tell me how to get…how to get to Avenue Q? Yes all those special childhood memories of Sesame Street stay with us…but hold on we have grown up - so have the muppets. This show deals with adult issues including unemployment, sexuality, racism, love, money, and what your purpose is in life, but lovingly told through the medium of puppetry. Its original and refreshing. I didn’t know what to expect and found myself laughing out loud. I especially liked how they talked about racism – how all monsters look alike - it was clever.

The story is set on a street called Avenue Q in New York (yes they all have American accents) and the residents that live there. Brian (Oliver Stanley) is living with Christmas Eve (Saori Oda), a Japanese girl who you wouldn’t want to mess with but has a heart of gold, Gary Coleman (Nicolas Mclean) who is the ‘What you talking about Willis?’ guy from different strokes and is the super of the apartments. I felt the show didn’t need to be portraying Gary (who is no longer with us) and it automatically dates the show so that younger generations will not get any of those jokes. A random character would work just as well. However, Nicolas is excellent in the role. Trekkie Monster is obsessed with porn (I warned you it was adult themed!), and Rod (Lawrence Smith) and Nicky (Ellis Dackombe) were living together but only as friends – although Nicky thinks Rod is gay.

Kate Monster (Cecily Redman) also lives on the street. She is a teaching assistant and is fairly happy but would like a boyfriend. Sure enough, Princeton (Lawrence Smith) moves in and soon enough they get together. Princeton is out of university and looking for his purpose in life. He gets distracted by the bad idea bears and eventually decides he cannot see Kate as she is distracting him from his purpose. Although he is led astray by Lucy The Slut, will he and Kate get back together? Will Princeton find his purpose in life? Will there be a happy ending? After all this is real life – not some kids TV programme.

The cast are truly excellent. I found myself watching them (dressed all in black) as much as the muppets they are playing. They have every facial expression and physical movements that its hard for muppets to do so it really adds to the feelings of the show. Alongside a TV which teaches us…bedstands can count to 1 bedstand, and that purpose can be changed into propose…I really can say I enjoyed this show – even the uncomfortable moments. And there are many of those. With songs like It Sucks To Be Me, If You Were Gay. Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, The Internet Is For Porn and There Is Life Outside Your Apartment – you feel this is Sesame Street grown up. Of course, Jim Henson and Sesame Street are trademarks and have nothing to do with Avenue Q. That just makes you want to see it more!

Avenue Q is showing at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury until 27 July 2019.

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