The LOT brings Avenue Q, the Tony Award-winning musical about a slightly run down neighbourhood inhabited by people, puppets and monsters, back to Toronto and if you didn’t see it before, make sure to catch it this time around. This production is a “run, don’t walk,” type of puppet musical genius.
At first glance it may appear as though this was a musical for Sesame Street, but don’t let the furry puppets fool you. This is adult humour only—with songs like If You Were Gay, Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist, The Internet is For Porn and a raunchy puppet sex scene, it would be best to leave little Johnnie at home.
Avenue Q works so well because the musical speaks about what’s on all of our minds, but we’re often too afraid to say aloud. Dealing with issues of becoming an adult, being unemployed, coping with “bad ideas,” sexuality and finding one’s “purpose” are all handled in the most laugh-out-loud, “did they really just say that” ways.
Almost the entire cast including Director Seanna Kennedy are The LOT alum, and so their familiarity with the space, acoustics and audience was evident and added to the fun of the production. Each character played their parts to such convincing degrees that it is hard to single any one actor out. Of course, Adam Proulx as Princeton/Rod and Kira Hall as Kate Monster/Lucy had the most face time and they made the most of it. Their facial expressions alone, coupled with precise timing as puppeteers were spot on and totally believable.
At first you may wonder what to pay attention to, the puppeteers or the puppets—the actors can’t help but show emotions on their faces. Try paying attention to both (it’s not as hard as it sounds) and you’ll get an even more in depth range of emotions. Don’t forget, this is a musical that deals with real life issues so you may just see a bit of yourself in these characters.
The music will have you dancing in your seats and laughing with joy. Avenue Q is truly feel good, fun, musical theatre. Make sure you get your tickets before this puppet show hits the road.
Avenue Q is on stage now at the Lower Ossington Theatre and runs through February 9.
For ticket information and times please visit: http://lowerossingtontheatre.com/
All photos courtesy of Seanna Kennedy Photography