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Regent Theatre, Ipswich
That Avenue Q is a parody of Sesame Street is obvious the minute you walk into the theatre. Complete with Oscar’s garbage can the set hovers over you like a throwback to 1970’s American children’s TV. However, despite the cutesy puppets, hilariously politically incorrect lyrics and puppet porn, Avenue Q packs a punch.
It is a reality check for the powerbrokers, the straight A students, the career professionals – yes, you need a plan, but in the end, everything is just for now.
The show employs unconcealed puppeteers which, to begin with you may find distracting. I was torn between watching the facial expressions of both puppets and puppeteers, but they soon blend into one.
The storyline is populated with the characters we all know well from real life. Each in their own way seeking to find a purpose amongst the chaos that life throws at us. The Bad Idea Bears, come on, which of us don’t know those two idiots? And admit it, which of us have not on occasion, taken their advice?
I was amused, on reading the credits in the program, that Megan Armstrong, (among other parts) was playing “2nd Arm”. For a brief moment, I thought this the equivalent of playing the backend of the panto donkey! Oh how wrong was that thought. It is not the part, but what you make of it after all! What both Megan and Tom Steedon created, as they waltzed faultlessly about the stage as Nicky, was a joy to watch.
Were I forced to take sides and declare a favourite puppet; it would have to be Trekkie Monster. So unlike the Cookie Monster yet made of the same fabric with just a slightly different take on life!
You become completely immersed in this show with its naughty bits, funny bits and uncomfortable bits – but that is life. Ironically it takes anatomically incorrect puppets to help us realise that.