Avenue Q is one of those musicals almost impossible not to love. It unites the musical theatre-hating public with the musical theatre-loving public and makes us all have a heartily good time at the theatre. The Sydney revival playing at the Enmore Theatre produced by musical newcomer Luke Westley is fun, fabulous and a godsend to Sydney’s musical theatre scene. It boasts a talented, slick cast and band, a glossy production and a clever theatre location.
The show revolves around a bunch of 20-somethings who live in a group of terrace houses in New York. They’ve each got their own hang-ups and problems (finding steady employment, unfulfilled dreams, closeted homosexuality, directionless) and through some of the wittiest songs in musical theatre canon, they sing and laugh away their blues.
Together they find a sense of community and learn to appreciate the ups and downs of life’s rollercoaster. Oh, and they’re puppets. Little, arm-length puppets operated and voiced by actors onstage. The show is genius and the production’s tweaks here and there for their Sydney audience land every time, getting the biggest laughs.
The entire cast deliver skillful, detailed and joyous performances. Madeleine Jones is gorgeous as Kate Monster and Lucy T Slut. Her warmth and pristine voice make her Kate Monster wonderfully endearing. Rowena Vilar’s Christmas Eve is another stand out, and all the more hilarious because of Vilar’s underplayed comedy and stellar vocal chops.
Direction by Jo Turner is paced and clear, and musical direction by Shannon Brown is energetic and precise. Alice Osborne’s puppetry direction and choreography is engaging and never sacrifices clarity. Osborne and her cast make puppetry look easy!
The Enmore Theatre is a perfect location for Avenue Q. In the heart of the inner-west’s hubbub – surrounded by cafes, restaurants and shops – it’s the best simulation of Broadway we have here in Sydney. You can pop in, off the street and enjoy a few hours of entertainment and then continue your night a few doors down with good food and company. A clever move by Luke Westley and exciting times to see what he comes up with next. We need more, bright theatre producers and Westley has demonstrated he can deliver the goods.
Whoever you are, go see Avenue Q. You’ll love it! (Just don’t bring your kids. High school age and up, folks!)
Enmore Theatre, 118-132 Enmore Road, Newtown
Performance: Sunday 5 July 2015 – 4.00pm
Season continues to 18 July 2015
Information and Bookings: www.enmoretheatre.com.au
Image: Madeleine Jones (Kate Monster) and Matthew Predny (Princeton) in Avenue Q
Review: Maryann Wright