As far as musical comedies go, Avenue Q’s refreshing score puts it at the top of the tree and, on its second tour of the UK, the almost full house at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre loved every minute of it.
The smart, witty story, coupled with its hilarious mixture of characters (puppets, ‘monsters’, and Gary Coleman), makes the laugh-out-loud songs work extremely well, albeit with a simple plot.
Sam Lupton’s vocals are pleasant and warm, perfect for taking on the roles of Princeton and Rod alike. Before the residents of Avenue Q all explain how “It Sucks to Be Me”, Princeton begins by asking the question “What Do You Do with a B.A. In English?” It is these topical issues raised by the characters make Avenue Q as relevant today in 2012 Britain as it was when it premiered in New York back in 2003. A timeless piece of theatre; it is difficult to imagine that next year it will be a decade old.
Among the puppets is the loveable Kate Monster, whose dream it is to open a school for monsters, whilst searching for love, working for Mrs Thistletwat and living side by side her diverse companions on Avenue Q. Katherine Moraz’s portrayal of Kate is overwhelmingly sweet, strong and funny and her impressive vocals close the first Act in the ballad “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” in a perfect fashion.
Julie Yammanee, as Christmas Eve, provides the perfect comedic performance and, with her wonderful voice really shines during her solo “The More You Ruv Someone”. Chris Thatcher as Trekkie Monster/Nicky never failed to subject laughter on the audience every time he was on stage. “The Internet is For Porn” was, surprisingly, a crowd pleaser, and so was his rendition of “If You Were Gay”. His strong and versatile voice moved with ease from the deep tones of Trekkie to the warmer tones of Nicky.
Performances from the cast were all stand out, and each of them provides a perfect combination of comedy and heart that make this production of Avenue Q one of the best I have seen.