Review: Avenue Q at Royal & Derngate, Northampton
It doesn’t matter how many times I see this musical, I always think I’ll keep my eyes on the actor/puppeteer to look for any slips. And then your eyes gradually drift to the creatures of fur. And you can’t help but look at them.
Telling the story of the idealistic but youthful Princeton, he shows him moving into Avenue Q and his trials and tribulations as he interacts with the residents, including Kate Monster, the engaged Christmas Eve and Brian, rowing roommates Rod and Nicky, their landlord Gary Coleman and the ebullient Trekkie Monster.
It’s a testament to the brilliance of the performers that my brother, who was watching alongside me, scarcely realised that the actors were doubling up at certain times until the curtain call.
Lawrence Smith brings both the enthusiastic Princeton and the closeted Rod to life rather marvellously, while Cecily Redman gives us a very different side of her talents, one as the sweet and innocent Kate Monster and another character, far less cute with a name that I can’t possibly name in full.
Saori Ora is also rather brilliant as the fabulously named Christmas Eve, getting plenty of laughs for the extra embellishments that have been added into this production.
Even by brother commented to me afterwards, having never seen the show in full but only seeing clips on YouTube, that there were lots of extra moments in the show during the musical numbers which have been added. Unlike my brother, seeing the extra little touches by this talented cast gave it an added freshness while retaining the charm of the original production.
It does help that a lot of the songs are catchy as anything, and I expect I’ll get a lot of odd looks if I absent-mindedly start singing in public 'Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist'. But such is the joy and comedy of the songs that you can’t help but sing them.
This is a really great show and one that is really easy to like. It’s the perfect antidote if you are feeling a little down. It’s just a shame that it is only for now.
Avenue Q can be seen at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate until Saturday, February 23 (not appropriate for a younger audience). Tickets for the show can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk