Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Avenue Q review

Posted on October 04, 2014 in Arts & Culture, Theatre
By Krysteana Scribner

From Sept. 19 to Oct. 4, the raunchy puppet show Avenue Q made it’s debut at Lyric Music Theater on Sawyer Street in South Portland. This unique puppet-filled comedy aimed at adult audiences left people sorting through a variety of emotions, from sadness to hysterical laughter that couldn’t be tamed.

This musical told the story of a recent college graduate named Princeton, who moved into a shabby New York apartment on Avenue Q. There, he met the lovely Kate, as well as the rest of his neighbors who helped him discover his purpose in life.

Located in the front of the stage, two sign language interpreters used puppets to sign to the deaf audience, which made the experience open and intriguing to all audience members.

The cast of 11 actors performed at an expert level and their quality of sound effects and precision on stage made for an amazing theater experience. The topics in the show touched upon what life is like after college and how to discover who you truly are. In scene one, “What Do You Do With a BA in English” had audiences daydreaming back to their college days, as Princeton talked about how his degree has given him few skills and little opportunity in the real world.

Princeton fell in love with his neighbor Kate, who believed her purpose in life is to create a school for just monsters. This topic lead into the song, “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” where the neighborhood came together and admitted that even when they don’t mean to be, they made judgemental assumptions that can affect the way they treat people.

As Princeton tries to sort out his own problems, his neighbors Nikki and Rod argued over whether or not Rod was gay. “If You Were Gay” had the two come together and discuss that no matter their sexuality, they will always be friends.

Side characters, such as Trekkie, the porn obsessed monster, often made hilarious side comments that felt both appropriately placed and random enough to make audiences burst out into laughter.

Three of the characters in this play didn’t use puppets. Christmas Eve and Brian were the bickering married couple who often helped the puppet characters during times of stress. The landlord, Gary Coleman (who in real life was known for his successful childhood acting career) also played a role in helping the puppets find their true meaning in life.

As the play progressed, controversial subjects such as racism, homosexuality and Schadenfreude (taking pleasure in others’ pain) are discussed through song, and a disturbing display of puppet intercourse had the audience both laughing and cringing.

Molly Harmon, who played the role of Kate Monster in Avenue Q, believes that the success of the show goes not only to the actors, but to the manager, puppet builder, lighting staff and sound board operator.

“This play was a blast, and I am super glad I got to be a part of the show. Everyone in the cast did an amazing job, and although this wasn’t the first show I’ve been in that involved puppets, it was definitely the most rewarding one,” said Harmon.

Each scene change was quick and well done, and actors made facial expressions according to how their puppets were feeling, which made for a surreal experience and a more realistic show.

This performance was amazing because no matter what the subject, the dialogue kept audiences in good humor until the end. The mature content over love, sex and finding ourselves in the midst of it all kept audiences on their toes in wonder where Princeton and his friends were headed in life and what kind of things the future had in store for the characters.

Through all of these difficult topics of discussion, the actors and actresses held it together and performed a play that felt both genuine and comical.

At the end of the performance, audience members stood for an applause that lasted well beyond the end of the show. Anyone who had the chance to see this play left the Lyric Music Theater with a new outlook on the world of puppetry and acting.

Throughout the months of November, February, April and June, Lyric Music Theater will be hosting other shows, such as Oliver! and How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying. If you missed out on Avenue Q, then plan on attending one of these other amazing plays.

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