Last night I braved the terrential London downpour and travelled South to the New Wimbledon Theatre for the opening night of the Tony Award-winning musical Avenue Q. Having settled in London’s West End in three different homes (at the Noël Coward Theatre, Gielgud Theatre and finally the Wyndham’s Theatre) from 2006, earning a nomination for Best New Musical at the 2007 Olivier Awards, those adorable puppets packed their bags and got the hell out of dodge in October 2010, much to my dismay.
It is always a pleasure, never a chore, when I get the opportunity to experience Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s take on a realist’s ‘Sesame Street’ once again. Although this Sell A Door Theatre Company touring version of the show might not quite have the same production value as Cameron Mackintosh’s original West End venture, the show’s simple sets, costumes, props and puppetry lend itself perfectly to companies with smaller budgets. The essence of the show is not lost whatsoever, providing you have a talented cast to carry the script’s humour and belt out those cheeky, politically incorrect tunes. In this case, they certainly achieved that.
A special mention goes to Lucie-Mae Sumner and Jacqueline Tate for their performances as Kate Monster / Lucy the Slut and Christmas Eve, respectively. Although the ensemble cast has great chemistry and comic timing, these two performers were vocally on top notch last night, bringing the house down with the power ballad ‘The More You Ruv Someone’ and the heart-warming ‘There’s a Fine, Fine Line’.
However, I did see a young child at the interval and thought to myself “Why on God’s green earth has his mother brought him to this?!” I mean, what must the poor boy have been thinking seeing the two puppets (Princeton and Kate Monster) romping away on stage until kingdom come?! But for the adults in the audience, there was a great atmosphere at the New Wimbledon Theatre and patrons left with a naughty, but contented smile on their faces. I was once again happy to see Avenue Q arrive in the London area and will once again be sad to see it go. I guess the show’s final number rings true: everything in life is only ‘For Now’.