Diana Eccleston (Sardines)Crazy, sophisticated, naughty puppet extravaganza
If Sesame Street is for kids, Avenue Q is for grown ups.
This crazy, sophisticated, naughty puppet extravaganza was clearly inspired by Jim Henson's brilliant creations and has been amusing audiences since it first appeared in New York in 2003.
It was a West End fixture for five years from June 2006, when I first became acquainted with the various bonkers neighbours in the downtown American avenue.
I have to confess I don't recall it being as risqué back then. Or has it been revamped? I'm mildly horrified that I took my then teenage daughter to a show featuring wildly copulating puppets, though I do remember she loved Trekkie Monster, who is obsessed with Internet porn!
It's a clever show in that it deals with an assortment of adult themes such as racism, sex, homelessness, loneliness and the difficulties of being gay through the eyes of cute puppets, so what they sometimes controversially have to say seems more acceptable than human actors saying them.
Hence the number Everyone's a Little Bit Racist and I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today are actually very funny.
The puppets are great: adorable primary teacher Kate Monster (a person of fur), in-the-closet Rod, hilarious Trekkie Monster and new to the street Princeton, who wants to "find his purpose."
The puppeteers make it all look so easy and Cecily Redman is especially fabulous as she voices both Kate and Lucy the Slut at the same time.
There are three humans who live on Avenue Q, Brian, his Japanese fiancée Christmas Eve (whom I had a bit of trouble understanding at times) and Gary Coleman. But it's the puppets who obviously steal the show.
Wednesday's press night for the national tour was packed with appreciative young people and this is certainly a show for them (recommended for 14s and above) rather than for older audiences