Avenue Q is a Tony Award winning musical that is raunchy and funny, while telling the story of trying to make it in the world as an adult, paying for rent and finding a job. Stage West is presenting the musical, complete with songs titled ‘Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,’ sung by puppets.
The production tells of a recent college grad Princeton (Jeremy Crittenden) who moves into New York neighbourhood, Avenue Q and is ready to start his life. He found an apartment and he has a job. He has great neighbours, including newly engages Brian (Daniel Williston) and Christmas Eve (Selina Wong) and a potential romantic prospect Kate Monster (Madeleine Suddaby). Also living on Avenue Q are Nicky (Christian Goutsis) and his roommate Rod (also played by Crittenden). To round out there is Trekkie Monster (Goutsis) and Gary Coleman (Katrina Reynolds) who is now the building superintendent.
The musical combines both puppets and humans and handlers switch seamlessly always voicing a certain character. Stage West’s production has also taken the time to add some modern lines to the musical. Avenue Q is inappropriate and charming. It’s a funny musical that bluntly tells the hard truth in the songs. And throws in some puppet sex for kicks.
The key to a stellar production of the musical is strong voices and the cast at Stage West can all hold their own. Suddaby stands out in this regard both as Kate Monster and Lucy. The music and singing in this performance are quite outstanding. Goutsis is quite a standout as Trekkie, giving each character a specific intonation and cadence to their speech. Williston and Wong are great in their roles as well. Reynolds in not as strong as Gary Coleman, making the dialogue a little too cheesy.
Stage West’s Avenue Q features some outstanding performances and is laugh out loud funny. This production sometimes veers a little off track and occasionally comes off as tired and scripted. But overall the performance is well done, with just enough raunchiness and charm.
Stage West’s Avenue Q runs until August 31st. More information is available online.