Saturday, 30 January 2016

Avenue Q | New Theatre Cardifff

I recently read that Avenue Q has been in constant production since about 2009 (after first hitting Broadway in 2003) and I can absolutely see why. This is my second time seeing the show- the first time was last year's tour, and this year the tour kicked off in Cardiff with over twenty cities to visit before finishing in June. It's a show that I think I could see over and over without getting bored of and  now I'm going to try and explain why!

The show is all about big characters with side-splitting songs that had the audience roaring (The Internet is For Porn definitely got the biggest reaction!). The story is based around a small diverse community in New York, where some of the characters are puppets, some are 'monsters' and some are played by humans. Princeton is new to the neighborhood and fresh out of college, and throughout the show learns what it's like to be an adult in the 21st century with all its joys and challenges. What I love about the story is how relatable it is- one of the first songs states "four years of college and plenty of knowledge has earned me this useless degree", something that as I'm going through university at the moment I think about a lot! The overall message of the show is that life is never going to be perfect and sometimes you aren't going to achieve extraordinary things. Sounds depressing? In fact it's far from it, thanks to the upbeat, catchy songs with very clever and amusing lyrics.

Obviously one of the highlights of the show are the puppets. It's very cleverly done as the actors operating the puppets put so much expression into their performance as well with facial expressions that the puppet can't replicate, so you find yourself watching both the puppet and the actor at the same time which makes for a very interesting visual. Also many of the puppeteers operate more than one puppet and are able to distinguish between these very clearly using character voices which I find incredibly clever and must take a lot of skill- especially when they are sometimes operating one puppet but doing the voice of another remotely!

I do think that Avenue Q is a bit of an underrated musical but if you like to have a good laugh then I cannot recommend it enough. As I say, the show has now finished in Cardiff but there are so many dates left on the tour I am sure you'll be able to catch it somewhere and you can have a look for tickets here.


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