Hyde Musical Society
Director: Pail Wilson
Musical Director: Simon Pickup.
If you want a fun night out at the theatre go and see Avenue Q. Many people are familiar with “The Muppets” and “Sesame Street”, but this is a puppet show for adults, and one which includes a nude puppet scene. There are rude songs, outrageous jokes, a closet gay and the problems cause by internet porn. However, It is a laugh-out-loud theatre experience, - a must see show!
A functional set by the Hyde MS design and construction team gave plausibility to the community of Avenue Q. All this plus the technical input by the lighting and sound department added to the overall experience and enriched the performances.
The director had brought together a cast that could not be bettered. All the cute, cuddly puppets were skilfully handled. The actors and puppets were always in sync so that they gelled as one. The very clever music and lyrics including, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and, “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today”, were performed with wit and sophistication. This was due to a good reading of the score and a first rate band.
With such a variety of wonderful characters, all the supporting roles are important for the success of the piece. Stephanie Mead, Alison Ruck, Victoria Geary and Michael Baines sharply, and with enthusiasm, created the other characters.
The naïve Princeton, with big dreams and no money, is the latest to take up residency in the avenue. Blair Smith sparked with energy, and he, and the puppet, neatly conveyed the moods and attitude of the young graduate.
Kate Monster, Princeton’s romantic/lust interest was brought to life by Helena Frances. Her’s was a stand-out performance; the puppet took on a life of its own. Helena was so comfortable on stage and made the relationship between Princeton and Kate very tender. Their adult activity had the audience in hysterics.
Mention sex and you have Trekkie Monster’s attention (he is really a softy at heart). Alex Re, as the porn-surfing Monster, was engaging and he hit the funny bone with his rendition of “The Internet Is for Porn”. Oozing sex appeal is the character. Lucy the Slut, and Victoria Geary effortlessly portrayed the puppet slattern.
Rod, the closet gay investment banker, tries to convince everyone he’s straight with the musical number about his imaginative Canadian girlfriend. Kit Philipps extracted every ounce of comedy from the highly amusing song. Rod’s straight flat mate is Nicky, who proves that a friend is a friend indeed. Nicky was sincerely and truthfully played by Joe Gallogly.
It is strange that, after a while, we only watch the puppets, and not the humans operating them. There are a couple of non-puppet residents, Christmas Eve, and her partner Brian. Gavin Chadwick was in the driving seat as Brian giving a well-drawn characterisation. Another performance of note has to go to Bethany Heywood as Christmas Eve. Bethany has some of the show’s best lines which she delivered to great effect and vocally she was a power house. She absolutely nailed “The More You Ruv Someone”.
It is so easy see why this show is such a crowd pleaser; it is clever, it is funny, and it has great music. This company captured the moment creating some joyful theatre.