Review: Avenue Q - Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin

Avenue Q 
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin

Tuesday 3rd April 2012: Last night the Bord Gais Energy Theatre was packed almost to capacity with those eagerly awaiting to see the London touring production of Avenue Q. Boy, were they in for a treat.

For those unfamiliar with the Tony Award-winning musical, Avenue Q is the story of Princeton, a recently graduated BA student, who arrives on Avenue Q in search of his ‘purpose’ in life. Along his journey he encounters a series of characters including Kate Monster, a teacher’s assistant who longs to open a Monster school; Rod a closeted homosexual and his straight roommate Nicky; Brian, an unfulfilled comedian who lives with his girlfriend Christmas Eve, a therapist with no clients; Trekkie Monster, an internet lover and recluse who bares an uncanny resemblance to Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and Gary Coleman (yes, the Gary Coleman), the building superintendent.

Chris Thatcher as Bad Idea Bear
Photo by Nick Spratling
The miserable weather last night did not deter many from attending the show and those that came were rewarded for their valiant efforts. Katharine Moraz (Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut) and Sam Lupton (Princeton/Rod) were excellent jumping from character to character without skipping a beat. I felt Chris Thatcher (Nicky/Trekkie Monster/Bear) excelled in his ability to marry the puppet and actor and I was never distracted with the decision of whom to watch – the puppet or the actor? Julie Yammanee (Christmas Eve) was a particular favourite of mine with her excellent comedic timing and humourous one-liners. It was not just the acting that was first-rate last night but also the singing from the entire cast. The harmonies in ‘I wish I could go back to college’ were wonderful and as with most of the songs in this musical, received an enthusiastic applause.

The set is a quite striking recreation of New York City’s ‘Avenue Q’ with ramshackle houses, which aptly highlights the harsh reality of life for the characters. What added greatly to the production was the use of big screen TV’s to teach us lessons similar to those in Sesame Street. These lessons, such as how to spell Schadenfreude and the meaning of commitment, elicited some of the biggest laughs from the audience.

My only reservation would be that perhaps the lighting was not up to scratch. At times, the lighting appeared to be chasing the actors in some of the more active scenes.

For those thinking that this could be a show to bring the kids to – stop right there. Despite the Justin Bieber reference, this is no show for kids. With its controversial and satirical songs (‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist’ and ‘The Internet is for Porn’ to name but two) and themes of love (warning: some scenes of puppet nudity), life, lust and unemployment - this musical is Sesame Street for adults.

With a thoroughly deserved standing ovation for this infectious musical, this tour is here until Saturday 7th April - go see!

Review by Jane Hurley

Event: Avenue Q
Venue: Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2
Tickets: Priced from €20.00. On sale now through Ticketmaster.
Dates:  Tuesday 3rd April – 7th April 2012
Group Bookings/ Gift Vouchers: 01 677 7770
Ticketmaster dedicated line: 0818 719 377
The Circle Club and Hospitality Bookings: + 353 (01) 674 2407