Photos – Nicole Riseley
I don’t bandy the word “faultless” around too often, especially not in theatre critic world, but that’s exactly what Peter J Snee’s production of Avenue Q is. From the simplistic brick veneer styed set design that allows the cast access to multi levels without out fuss to the incredibly catchy tunes of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s original score.
Avenue Q is incredibly easy to love, and this current production made even more so due to Trevor Jones’s musical direction. Jones allows the stars of the show, the songs, to sparkle, and leaves them to the very capable vocals of the cast. Jones brings out the absolute best in the music and whisks you into the make-believe world of Avenue Q from the opening moment.
This fantastical world of puppets that talk, monsters that live with humans and also spontaneously break out into song is made all the more whimsical by the incredible ensemble. Ross Hannaford who doubles as Princeton/Rod is as engaging as he is neurotic as he flips between purpose-seeking-Princeton and closeted Rod. Joined by Sophie Wright (Kate/Lucy), their vocals are as stunning as their natural performances.
Avenue Q shines under Peter J Snee’s direction, and avoids the temptation to go over-the-top with exaggerated caricatures. Not an easy feat when you’re working with a mixture of furry puppets and humans who all have their own set of everyday tragedies and triumphs to cope with.
Often described as “Sesame Street for adults”, Avenue Q is a world not so different from our own, and yet when in the hands… sorry paws, of the show’s monsters it makes our everyday lives just that little more bearable (pun intended). Avenue Q is a show for anyone who’s ever questioned the meaning of life, made irresponsible choices and wished to be a kid again. The charming cast which includes a outstanding performance by Sun Park, in particular her rendition of “The More You Ruv Someone” and the ever-entertaining Zulieka Khan as superintendent Gary Coleman, who has the late child star’s mannerisms perfected are an absolute joy from start to finish.
Let yourself be catapulted onto Avenue Q, and for a few hours have all your questions about life answered by the furry friends on stage, who come to think of it, are a lot like you and me. You’ll be singing inappropriate lyrics for days, I swear.
Avenue Q The Musical
music and lyrics by Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx | book by Jeff Whitty | based on the original concept by Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx
Directed by Peter J Snee
Venue: Her Majesty's Theatre | 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 7 – 14 Aug 2016
Tickets: $59 – $100