Laughing with absolute mirth is a rare treat in this day and age. Doing it while watching a bunch of puppet and human characters interact – without a child in sight – is absolutely bonkers.
Avenue Q is not the sort of musical that gets staged in a commercial theatre in South Africa often. On this street, the comedy is dark and somewhat twisted, there’s swearing and sex, promiscuity and all the grittiness of life – stuff that sometimes scares an audience away. Here, the opposite is true. The dirtier it gets, the better Avenue Q gets.
At its heart, it’s a show that makes you feel a little less alone. Why? Because many of the problems you’re facing right now are probably covered in this laugh-a-minute ride in a dilapidated New York neighbourhood.
Avenue Q is a high-wire act of skilled writing and good comic timing – and that’s one of the reasons it remains such a phenomenon on the world stage. The first local production is no exception.
Starting with the introduction of Princeton, a big-eyed bushy-tailed graduate with a BA degree in English, his first lament focuses on the pointlessness of spending four years at university without acquiring any skills.
As he roams from neighbourhood to neighbourhood looking for an affordable place to stay, he meets his new neighbours – the residents of Avenue Q, all with their own reason to be unsatisfied with life. But soon they find out little things, like love, relishing in others’ misfortunes and porn can make you feel a tad better about your status in the world.
Starring Ashleigh Harvey as Kate Monster and Lucy – two of Princeton’s love interests – and Ryann Flynn as Princeton and closeted Rod, the two leads are a magic act on stage.
The tough parts sometimes have them speaking for a character not on their hand at a specific moment.
They’re joined by Daniel Geddes as Nicky and porn-loving Trekkie Monster.
Other neighbours (non-puppets) include Brian (Grant Towers), Christmas Eve (Rebecca Hartle) and former child star Gary Coleman (Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri), as well as Greame Wicks and Nieke Lombard as the delightfully evil Bad Idea Bears.
Avenue Q unfolds quickly, sucking you into the trials and tribulations of a ragtag group of people still finding their identity. But there’s a beautiful message that whatever hurt you’re facing, it will pass.
You just can’t pass on witnessing one of the most enthralling spectacles in town right now. Maybe the neighbourhood is a little grotty and you might pick up a communicable disease just opening the window, but Avenue Q, I fuzz you.
Director: Timothy le Roux.
Cast: Ashleigh Harvey, Ryann Flynn and Daniel Geddes.
Theatre: Pieter Toerien Montecasino Theatre.
No under 16s are allowed in the theatre.
Tickets through Computicket or at the theatre.