Avenue Q is almost as old as some of the characters the puppets (think muppets but for legal reasons they cannot call themselves that) and although it is showing its age it remains full of laughs and remains refreshingly irreverent.
The story is an idealistic graduate meets and falls in love with a monster when he moves into Avenue Q but ends their relationship so his not distracted from finding his purpose. She too has her own dreams as do the other characters both humans, Brian, Christmas Eve and the superintendent, Gary Coleman, and other furry creations.
The division between a world of humans and human puppets and a world of monsters allows a different way of looking at racism although this is not a snowflake show thanks to the refreshing realism from such songs that argue that everyone is a little bit racist, that the internet is basically used for watching porn, and find humour in suicide, sex and pointless degrees.
The story line that now seems a little old hat is the closet Republican gay puppet and his struggle for self acceptance. It also seems a little dated in the female “lead” puppet being such a passive character.
I couldn’t help also wonder whether this show would get staged it was new in 2019 as there is so much negative scrutiny of shows and a loss of any sense of irony let alone humour in satire to make mirror-to-society theatre. But, hey, even the miseries surely would find the humping puppets and porn obsessed monster, laugh out loud funny.
In this tour the cast is exemplary, not only those who have the starring roles but also the men and women operating the puppets, in this fast flowing show, and the music excellent. Lawrence Smith is not only young, bouncy and chippy as Princeton and Cecily Redman delights as Kate Monster. Both Smith and Cecily have fine singing voices and I did find myself looking at them rather than the puppets they were operating.
New Theatre until June 22.