CREAGH CARR REVIEW: Avenue Q, MK Theatre

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

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Seasoned hackette Bev Creagh and flamboyant newshound Stewart Carr give their always opinionated and sometimes opposing views in The Creagh/Carr Review . Here they reveal their thoughts on Avenue Q at Milton Keynes Theatre.

CREAGH SAYS ... Remember the Muppets? Well Avenue Q is an innovative updated take on those much loved Jim Henson characters.

Only this time they’re attached to humans who sing and dance on their behalf. And it’s amazing how quickly you identify with the puppets’ appealing personalities and funny quirks. You really believe they’re the ones doing the speaking and singing, not the puppeteers guiding them.

Avenue Q is on the wrong side of the tracks in New York, about as far from Park Avenue as you can get. But it’s home to a host of delightfully dotty down-and-outs - and even an out-and-out perv - who sing about how their life sucks,

They’re utterly entrancing, totally un-PC, and yet manage to deliver sage advice on sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and racism along the way.

It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, it makes you happy and sad in equal measure.

It won a clutch of Tony awards in 2004, including Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Original Book.

The set doesn’t change but the colourful characters make use of its many windows and doors to to provide an ever-evolving scene. There are even two multimedia screens to add to the confusion.

My only gripe was the sound - a bit tinny and shrill, which coupled with the American accents, meant I didn’t always catch what was being said or sung.

But as a unique theatrical experience, Avenue Q is absolutely exhilirating. Catch it while you can

CARR SAYS ... A zany idea based around puppets and a dirty mind, Avenue Q will leave you smiling from ear to ear.

Undoubtedly, this is one musical comedy with serious street-cred.

Partially inspired by South Park, Avenue Q is a worthy adult update to Jem Henson’s muppets and a natural hit with a younger audience.

And that’s because its premise draws on life for a lot of people who are starting out – working in deadend jobs or unemployed, living in a rough neighbourhood, or trying to make the first relationship work out.

College graduate Princeton (Richard Lowe) is new to Avenue Q and quickly becomes involved with earnest romantic Kate Monster (Sarah Harlington).

Living on a notorious dive like Avenue Q, they are surrounded by madcap misfits and seriously unhinged friends putting their relationship at risk.

There’s Trekkie Monster (Stephen Arden) with his legendary anthem “The Internet Is For Porn”, also former child star Gary Coleman (Rhiane Drummond) actually based on the man himself.

And I loved the Bad Idea Bears – two perversions of the Care Bears whose sweet, high pitched entreaties include suggestions for getting high, getting laid and ... suicide.

Let’s not forget Lucy The Slut, played again by Harlington in a versatile double performance!

Topical and thought-provoking, it touches on a array of subjects like race, sexuality, even the meaning of life, without ever being too preachy and always with a heady dose of fun.

Avenue Q plays at Milton Keynes until May 21. See here for tickets.