The smash hit ‘Triple Crown’ Tony Award winning musical arrives in Eastbourne on the closing leg’s of its sell out 2019 UK tour and that’s good news for me as Avenue Q was always the ‘one that got away’, having missed its West End run. So years of trying to catch this meant expectations were somewhat high as I sat down to see the Tuesday night showing at the wonderful Devonshire Park Theatre. Did Avenue Q disappoint? Nope. Not in the slightest.
The story of a puppet called Princeton who wants to find his true purpose in life after he arrives on the titular New York street, Avenue Q is as rude & funny as it is uplifting and unforgettable… but then what would you expect from a musical that includes songs like “Everyone’s a little bit racist” and features former child TV star Gary Coleman as a lead character. Oh and don’t even get me started on the Big Bird riffing monster with a love of… well let’s just say the internet. It’s not hard to see the DNA of Robert Lopez, who co-create The Book Of Mormon, firmly running throughout this.
As for this production, Cressida Carre delivers some first class staging, whilst the puppets are brought to life by the excellent human cast with sparkling delivery of the songs which range from sidesplittingly funny to touching and, ultimately, rather uplifting. It may not be for everyone – for sure it’s probably one to avoid for children under 14 years old and those of a more prudish disposition as the content is more than a little mature and risqué at times. But see through that and ultimately you have a wonderful story about love, life and finding your true self that is as honest as musical theatre gets.
So after years of waiting to see Avenue Q it’s fair to say it smashed my expectations. Yes it’s rude, yes it’s crude but it’s also oddly life affirming and it’s ultimate message is one that leaves you with a big goofy smile on your face. And what more could you ask for Eastbourne in these troubled times…
Starring: Lawrence Smith, Cecily Redman, Kate Monster, Tom Steedon, Megan Armstrong, Oliver Stanley. Directed by Cressida Carre
Avenue Q is currently performing at The Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne from Monday 28th October to Saturday 2nd November 2019
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