Theatre Review: Avenue Q - Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London ✭✭✭✭

Avenue Q
Upstairs at the Gatehouse

The London Fringe premiere of Avenue Q played to a packed house last night, and what a lovely evening of superb performances on show.

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.

For those of you who have seen the West End and touring versions, you will not be disappointed by what you see here. Avenue Q is a fantastic ensemble piece, and the cast of this production certainly show a great range of talent - in particular Josh Wilmott (Nicky/Trekkie) whose range of voices are exemplary. Will Jennings (Princeton/Rod) also shows fantastic range, and his facial expressions along with the puppets leave you in hysterics at times whilst also warming the heart. Leigh Lothian (Kate Monster/Lucy) has a gorgeous voice and shows great puppetry skills.

In the group numbers the whole cast have superb harmonies, Katie Bradley (Mrs T/Bear), Shin-Fei Chin (Christmas Eve), Tim Frost (Brian), Cassandra Lee (Gary Coleman) and Harrison Spiers (Ensemble) giving great performances all round.

Upstairs at the Gatehouse is quite a large space to say it is above a pub, and Suzi Lombardelli's set works well - three lots of two storey apartments next to each other, and an LCD TV being used as a billboard and showing visuals throughout. The puppets are amazingly detailed, made by Paul Jomain, and the actors show great skill in handling them, paired with nice choreography from Grant Murphy.

The only negative for me was the sound quality, the four piece band sounding muffled throughout, and at times it was difficult to hear the vocals when they were stood extreme stage right. Trekkie's mic was also sounding muffled, a re-touch of the EQ, speaker positioning and touch more volume on the vocals would make all the difference.

But apart from that, Avenue Q is once again in London, and this version is just as good as the others.
Don't miss this show, get yourselves down to Avenue Q now.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Listings Info 

Upstairs at the Gatehouse 

Junction of Hampstead Lane & North Road Highgate Village
London N6 4BD 
Highgate Station (ten minute walk) Archway Station then buses:
143, 210 or 271 bus to Highgate Village or 214 bus from Camden or Kentish Town

Dates & Times
16th May – 30th June 2013 Tuesdays - Saturdays at 7.30pm Sundays at 4pm

Box Office
020 8340 3488

£10 - £18 (concessions available)