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“AVENUE Q”

I was so pleased that I’d always resisted seeing Avenue Q in the West End, despite people raving about it, as I felt that after experiencing it for the first time, that the Little Theatre was exactly the right venue for this show, the intimacy of the theatre really pulled us into the feelings of the actors/puppets, whether sad, happy or downright randy!!


The set on first sight looked a little bit bare, but with the windows being used to the utmost by the cast, and the lighting, it proved to be exactly right.


Lighting from Tom Young, someone who is obviously going to go far in this field, was excellent- some stunning effects, and everything fitted in so well with the moving moods of the piece.


There wasn’t a requirement for much choreography but what there was bore the stamp of Lynette Driver who has her own style, which translated itself well to this vehicle.


Chris Young directed the show and also the musical side of things – there were some good voices to do justice to bright and interesting music, and the ensemble numbers were all beautifully harmonised.  The action was pacey and Chris kept the cast moving well, using every available bit of space.


The animations, although part of the package, were very funny and drew the attention well.


In the first scene it was a case of... shall I watch the actor or the puppet? - but as the show went on they somehow seemed to meld, and become one – I think the cast coped extremely well, with what must have been a very difficult genre to master.


So to the cast – Lucy O’Hare and Kate Monster, gave us her usual finely crafted performance – a lovely portrayal, that got under the feelings of Kate, with a real understanding of the emotions Kate was going through.  Loved the part where Kate dropped the penny off the top of the Empire State Building – so funny, and such good reaction from both Lucy/Kate and Jenna/Lucy!


This is going to be a difficult write, because the puppets became almost real, and therefore deserve to be mentioned alongside their puppeteer!


Ashley Mead and Princeton showed us his quest to find his purpose – it really rang bells, and was a good thread to run through the show.  Ashley/Princeton was happy, sad, and at times a typical young man – very well done.


Rod, operated by Simon Rollings was a different type of character for Simon – a gay man, with lots of comedy coming through, best thing Simon has done for a while.


Nicky, operated by James Halling and Helen Maile - voiced by James, was the catalyst for Rod to finally ‘come out’, he was the typical never quite grown up lad, with James giving the voice plenty of expression.


I loved Trekkie - voiced by Josh Thompson, and what a voice, very deep and gravely, Josh is really proving himself to be a real asset to the amdram world.  Anna Woods assisted as Trekkie’s right arm – this pair got so much fun and humour into the rather excitable Trekkie.


Kay Elliott and Kim Albone were the very sly Bad Idea Bears, trying to make others do things that they really shouldn’t.  Again nicely done.


Lucy the Slut was operated by Jenna Ryder-Oliver, the voice adopted for both speech and her musical numbers was very good – the jazz/bluesy feel of the numbers Jenna/Lucy sang suited Jenna’s voice so well – deep and rich – very well done.  However, it was very pleasing that she eventually got her come-uppance when she was hit by the penny!


Mrs T, operated by Alana McKenna, was very full on and amusing.  I liked the different feel to this character.


Then we come to the actors who didn’t have an extension to their arm....  Starting with Susan Young as Christmas Eve, a sometimes charming, often aggressive oriental lady, married to Brian, the failed comedian, was a good pairing, which brought us all down to earth again, after the reality/fantasy feel of the puppets.   Susan sang beautifully, so much of what she said was very true, although most of us would not like to admit it!!


Paul gave the part plenty of energy, moved with ease and sang the part well.  I loved the joke that he hadn’t got a punchline for.


Last, but certainly not least, was Damien Winchester as Gary Coleman.  This part suited Damien down to the ground – I have long enjoyed watching this young man blossom, and this part gave him the opportunity to be funny, show off his lovely voice, and dance a little.  Great portrayal.


I thoroughly enjoyed this rather unique theatrical experience – which was funny, blatantly rude, cheerful, slightly too truthful for comfort at times, very diverse in its look at life, with everyone performing really well.  Very well done to everyone.




Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

AVENUE Q” review date: 28th March 2014

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director: Chris Young Choreographer: Lynette Driver

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