Review: Avenue Q @ New Wimbledon Theatre

If colourful puppets singing inappropriate songs about pornography, sex and racism is for you then take a trip down Avenue Q. 

The eccentric musical opens with a song we can all relate to, What do you do with a BA in English? — It sucks to be me, with the Muppet-like puppets arguing about whether it’s worse to be jobless or dateless.

Set in New York, the story follows bright-eyed Princeton, a typical 22-year-old looking for his purpose in life — battling losing his job and girlfriend troubles along the way.

Despite the puppeteers being in full view you are captivated by the little monsters and plush puppets they operate.

With her outstanding and diverse singing, special mention must go out to Sarah Harlington who played Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut — sometimes both at the same time.

Through the use of animated puppets and songs such as Everyone’s a little bit racist and If you were gay, the musical covers controversial and sensitive subjects in a light-hearted way — leaving the audience in stitches.

With musical numbers including I’m not wearing underwear today and The internet is for porn, it’s worth noting this production is not for the easily-offended or one to take the kids to.

Small TV screens take the audience back to educational shows like Sesame Street teaching us how to spell and even what a one night stand is.

There’s a whole song dedicated to the German word ‘Schadenfreude’, meaning to take pleasure in the misfortune of others, with comical examples of telling a vegetarian they’ve just eaten chicken, watching figure skaters falling over and exes getting STDs.

The characters then realise the error of their ways in The Money Song when they realise how good it feels to give to others.

As expected, the coming-of-age parable ends happily ever after for the characters we have come to know and love, with Princeton coming to grips with the harsh reality that some people will never find their purpose and life goes on.

But what will happen to the new kid in Avenue Q…

Avenue Q is showing at the New Wimbledon Theatre until March 19.

Image courtesy of George Rex, with thanks

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