16-21 May 2016
Reviewed by Sharon Mongey
I was delighted to attend and review Avenue Q at Milton Keynes Theatre on Monday night.
We arrived at the theatre district in ample time and found lots of available spaces in the car park, which was free after 6pm. I noted that there was a multi storey car park too, I do not know if there is a charge for this. The theatre was a short distance from the car park and there are numerous bars and restaurants in the area for a pre show visit. Milton Keynes Theatre is a modern theatre which opened in 1999. A very large foyer, large stair cases and huge glass windows gave it an extremely spacious feeling. Lifts were available to use if you were unable to tackle the stairs to the higher floors. Staff were friendly, wishing us a pleasant evening. The atmosphere in the theatre was quite relaxed when we arrived; a pianist was playing in the Piano Bar and was a delight to hear while we waited to go into the auditorium. We visited the toilets, ample of them; we found them nice and clean.
We headed in for the start of the show, a pleasant young lady directed us to our seats, great view of the stage, I do feel that all seats give you a good view at this theatre. There was no background music whilst we waited, just the hum of conversation waiting for the show to start. The stage was simply set; it was the Avenue where all the action would take place. There were a couple of television screens right at the top of the stage that added intermittent extra humour to the show.
I didn’t know very much about the show other than it was puppets, I vaguely remembered seeing a clip on the television some years ago, so I did a little research before I went, and was glad that I did as I had planned to take my 13 year old daughter, but decided that the content would be too adult. The official Avenue Q site recommended an age of 14+ to 16+ and after seeing it I would agree.
Avenue Q starts with Princeton (Richard Lowe) graduating, arriving at Avenue Q after an exhausting journey looking for a property to rent starting at Avenue A, He meets the residents of Avenue Q some of whom included Kate Monster (Sarah Harlington), Christmas Eve (Arina II) and Brian (Richard Morse).
Princeton is looking for his “purpose” in life and so we go on a journey with him and the characters of Avenue Q, I must say it is the most hilarious of journeys! The audience laughed their way through the entire performance as Princeton, Kate Monster, Rod, Nicky, Lucy the Slut and the Bad Idea Bears (all puppets) tackled issues such as racism, homosexuality and relationships alongside Gary Coleman, Brian and Christmas Eve (humans). The cast controlling the puppets are amazing, moving their bodies in unison with their puppets, their bodies morphing into one, you do end up watching just the puppets and then remember that they are being controlled! There were lots of comical songs such as; “If you were gay”, “Purpose” and “Everyone’s a little bit Racist”. I loved the “Internet is for Porn” song, Trekkie Monsters input into that song was great and I have to say look out for Brian’s performance when Kate Monster and Princeton go out for a date, so very funny. But the funniest of all the show for me would go to Kate Monster and Princeton in the bedroom (how they portray what they do with puppets that stop at the waist is amazing and adds even more to the comedy).
The song titles and the names of some of the characters should give you some sort of an idea of the content of this show. I would thoroughly recommend this show for open minded adults that are not easily offended and are looking for something completely different and great fun. Having said that, the “puppets” get away with this sometimes risqué performance. All the audience could relate to the topics raised and my face hurt from laughing so much. I loved it.
Tickets cost from £17.90 to £53.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Avenue Q is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 21 May 2016. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ