What I learned on Avenue Q
- We’re all a little bit racist
- The internet is for Porn
- If you spend all your time looking for your purpose, you’ll let it slip by
The Lower Ossington Theatre (LOT) hosts the return of Avenue Q, on stage now until August 4. The show originally planned for TV is now one of the longest running shows in Broadway history. The cast consists of three human characters and ten puppet characters who interact as if human, Sesame Street-style. The puppets are animated and voiced by actor/puppeteers who are present, unconcealed, onstage, but not relative to the storyline. The audience just has to deal with the fact that puppets exist and have real-world problems like we do, use abundant profanity in their dialogue and have loud “full puppet nudity” puppet sex. (Warning: if puppet sex offends you, don’t sit in the first two rows on the left.)
Puppet sex aside, there are a lot of reasons to enjoy this production at the LOT. For the theatre critic; it follows the coming of age story of Princeton, the bright eyed recent grad ready to change the world, who also happens to be a monster. There are also many subplots to the songs such as racism, pornography, homosexuality, monogamy and finding your direction in life. The way the story unfolds includes video clips, catchy songs and the over the top acting just adds to the allure of the show.
Both the novice theatre goer and critic will enjoy the wit and humour of the show and the talent of the performers, both in their voice work and emotions. It’s hard to see people on stage holding puppets and not focus on their faces though I know they are supposed to be invisible, hence dressed in black, but puppets just don’t convey the same facial expressions. The LOT is a small space you can see the faces of the actors and puppeteers clearly and I enjoyed the fact they were putting emotion into their roles even though the focus was to be on the puppets. The actors also seemed more polished than in other productions I’d seen at theLOT, each of them with clear, powerful voices that gave eight standout performances.
Overall, if you’ve only ever heard of Avenue Q by name, go see it at the Lower Ossington Theatre. If you’ve seen it on Broadway or in big production in Toronto and had crappy seats where you couldn’t see anyone’s face, go see it at the Lower Ossington Theatre. If you like wit, humour, a few racial stereotypes and have a curiosity to puppet sex, go see it at the Lower Ossington Theatre. You have until August 4th with many weekends evening shows already sold out, so don’t miss it, or everyone else but you will know about Schadenfreude.