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Avenue Q is a delightful piece, that requires technical puppetry skills from the cast, along with good integration between puppet and puppeteer, which was well-achieved by everyone in the cast.

The set was more detailed than I have seen from other productions, I thought the design from Lee Marsh was excellent, and commend his construction crew and artists for creating a super workspace for the cast.  I loved the sight into the rooms behind the doors, and the use of the staircase.  It worked really well on all levels.

Sound was excellent throughout, and the use of spotlights gave interest to the performers, however, for me, I would have liked the platform outside the houses to have been lit more, as the faces of the cast were lost from time to time when they were upstage and not immediately in the spot.

I loved Christmas Eve and Brian’s costumes, a good and OTT splash of colour against the blacks of the puppeteers.

I liked Ben Molloy as Princeton – he got the insecurities of the part well, and we saw his gradual transformation into a caring and active person come into being.  I hope Ben will continue to be part of HHTC, and build on his experience with them.

Kate Monster was beautifully played by Kat Knight – she is so expressive, and this seemed to translate right the way through to what should have been an inanimate puppet.  I loved her rendition of a Fine Line, very poignant and telling.

The sex scene between Princeton and Kate was excellent, so funny – and nicely handled by Kat and Ben.

The relationship between Nicky (Ash Copeland) and Rod (Marlon Gill), was tangible, they reacted well to each other and their growing awareness of their bond and connection. It was good to see Ash in a meaty role, which he accomplished well, both singing and acting-wise.

Marlon always shows his experience in his roles, but I was aware that his puppet needed a little more control than some of the others.

Trekkie Monster is such an iconic puppet and part, that I was intrigued as to how Adam Briffett would cope with the lewdness and definitive voice, I loved what he did with the part, it was great, and the voice just right – very well done.

Jo-Anne Wright created a good older character as Mrs T, but I felt that her Lucy needed just a little more characterisation.  The puppet was very sexy, but Jo-Anne didn’t follow it through as much as she could have done to create that essential difference between Lucy and the innocence of Kate.  I would have liked a little more to have been made of the hospital scene, as it always helps set the scene for later when Lucy transforms!

The Bad Idea bears were played well by Charlotte Stephens and Laura-Anne Connor, for me I needed a bit more emphasis on the badness inherent in their characters, and a little slower speech would have made the intent more effective.

Katie Lovell gave us a charming Christmas Eve, again a different character to get her teeth into, which worked really well, she was cheeky and manipulative, which I thought was very well-achieved.

Steve Davies as Brian, looked the part and again brought his experience to bear so that we had a nicely rounded character, plenty of understanding in the way he delivered the lib, complementing Christmas Eve and the other characters.  I always enjoy seeing what Steve brings to a part. A very good pairing.

Gary Colman gave Roxy Parkins a chance to get into the realm of playing a male character, which she did with gusto.  Roxy injected energy and fun into the role, and looked the part, even in the wedding scene.

Bruno Bassett, Harry Cambridge and Taylor Farnella completed the cast, and were used very well by the Director to fill the stage and small but integral parts.

Beth Thomas had obviously worked her magic on the cast and band, to make this a good musical experience as well as a fun production.

A super version of this show, which is one I love to see, it has so much content, fun and a few threads of poignancy and emotion, that I can’t fail to enjoy it.

Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company

“AVENUE Q”  review date: 16th March 2017

Boxmoor Playhouse

Director: Maggie Harvey

MD:  Beth Thomas   


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