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BrumHour reviews both homegrown and touring productions at arrangement with The Old Joint Stock Theatre throughout the year.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This very adult comedy musical explores themes of race, colour sexuality and prejudice.
Review: Avenue Q at The Old Joint Stock Theatre
Directed and produced by Adam Lacey, Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty
If the characters from Sesame Street all got very drunk and went out into the real world they’d find themselves on Avenue Q, just like Princeton (Ben Hutt), Princeton is fresh out of college with an English Degree when he finds himself renting a place on Avenue Q. His neighbours include a mixture of humans including Brian (Thomas Cove), Christmas Eve (Etheria Chan) and inexplicably former child actor Gary Coleman (Hannah Victoria).
Princeton immediately feels a romantic spark with Kate Monster (Rebecca Withers) but glamour model Lucy (Also played by Rebecca Withers) threatens their budding romance. Elsewhere in the street, Rod (Also played by Ben Hutt) is dealing with his sexuality and his crush on his housemate Nicky (Bradley Walwyn).
The cast is rounded out by Alex Wadham, Bella Bowen, Matt Bond and Tabitha Rose.
Normally this production would play out on a large stage, but with the fringe style rectangle layout at The Old Joint Stock Theatre, this feels very intimate. Normally this theatre packs about 100 people in the audience but after the past 18 months having around 60 people gave the audience a lot of space to feel safe and comfortable.
I found it thrilling to see these puppet characters up close and personal and have played the music at home on and off for the past fifteen years. There’s a lot to love about the upbeat childlike elements of the production which uses the real video elements from the West End/Broadway and touring productions. The puppets are also real authentic versions of the original productions. Trekkie Monster being my favourite!
The stripped back set is a wall with angled doorways plus windows with tie-dye curtains, when the characters appear it is en masse as they all bust onto the floor.
There was lots of interaction and eye contact particularly for the front row on each side, and there were a few adlibs too which really added the productions own stamp to the proceedings.
These actors have excellent singing voices too and really make use of the radio mics taped to their cheeks, Etheria Chan, Hannah Victoria and particularly Rebecca Withers all get real chances to show off their vocals.
Huge shoutout and well done to director and producer Adam Lacey, choreographer Pippa Lacey and Musical Director Jack Hopkins. Lots of productions begin their lives in a fringe theatre this size and to see it bringing Broadway and the West End in this way is fantastic.
Filthy and adorable Avenue Q is at The Old Joint Stock Theatre until 21st August. Book here: oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/avenue-q