Avenue Q School Edition
by Act II
South Holland Centre, Spalding
Saturday, February 15, 2014
I have an extreme dislike for political correctness and great admiration for the Act II Theatre company, so I was really looking forward to their performance of comedy musical Avenue Q – a kind of un-PC Sesame Street for adults.
Although the show was slightly toned down for its teenage performers, it was still hilariously risque.
Life may suck for the jobless, homeless, politically incorrect and gay residents of the street, but it’s certainly a bundle of belly laughs.
There’s no ventriloquistism, with the young actors taking centre stage with their puppets and some of the cuddly creations lucky enough to have two human controllers!
The story centres around the quirky residents of the avenue, a lively mix of humans, puppets and monsters!
Central to the story is the love affair between bright-eyed college graduate Princeton (Kieran Watson) and Kate Monster (Poppy Lewis).
Along the way we see Rod (Jack Harrison) come out to announce his homesexuality, Nicky (Duncan Riches, Dominique Spinks) become homeless and Trekkie Monster (Richard Slade, Steph East) sell all his friends’ internet data!
We see Princeton tempted by the slutty Lucy (Morgan Agate), Brian (Karl Gernert) and Christmas Eve (Sophie Gale) get married and the Bad Idea Bears (Bob Prat and Lizzie Taylor) try to corrupt them all.
And then there’s Gary Coleman (Georgia Cantwell), the fading child star from 80s sitcom Diff’rent Strokes.
I musn’t forget the wonderful “moving boxes” of Olivia Black, Seren Cave, Dominique and Molly Riches or the cameo by Ricky (Olivia), Rod’s lover and the crabby school teacher Mrs Butz (Rebe Hawes, Molly) and Newcomer (Harry Higgins).
And all these scenarios are set to wonderfully funny songs such as “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist”, “It Sucks To Be Me”, “If You Were Gay” “Schadenfreude” and “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today”.
Directed and produced by talented husband and wife duo Charlotte and Karl Gernert, this really was a joy to behold.
The acting was great, with the actors’ facial expression often perfectly matching those of their puppets, and the American comedy accents simply spot on.
And the singing from Act II gets better every time I see them – perfect pitch to accompany these hilarious songs.
Stand out performances for me came from Kieran Watson, Jack Harrison and Georgia Cantwell but the whole cast can take a bow – this was terrific stuff.