30 June 2009

Avenue Q

Avenue Q
Arts Asia Pacific
4 June 2009
The Comedy Theatre

Strip down to your felt, put your finger “there” and be as loud as the hell you want, as you joyously scream for Avenue Q. Or at least click away from the porn for a minute.

We’ve been waiting, we’ve been hoping and now Melbourne has seen Australia’s first Avenue Q - and it was worth the wait. Too often the big shows have had the life and soul McDisneyfied out of them, but this Avenue is as fresh Lucy T Slut, as original Brian’s joke and as nasty as Mrs Thisletwat.

If you haven’t heard “It sux to be me”, “If you were gay”,  "The internet is for porn" or “Everyone’s a little bit racist”, Avenue Q is Sesame St for grown ups, with people and puppets, monsters and humans all living on a less-than-posh New York street.

As the Street is about learning about life, so is the Avenue. And there are still plenty of lessons to be learnt once you’ve left college, be it about unemployment, homelessness, racism, swine flu or what you’d do if you were the cutest little black kid on TV and became a broke has-been by the time you hit puberty.

The Q subversively exposes the layer of our lives that suck (suck as in “bad”, not as in suck like Rod’s girlfriend from Canada – who sucks like a Hoover). But schadenfreude (don’t worry you’ll learn all about it) always makes us feel better, and there’s plenty of misfortune to laugh at on the Avenue, as love can go wrong, you’ll have no purpose in life, be worried about being a homo-whatever and or be stuck with a fucking BA in English – and I’m not talking about the audience..

Under the mighty fine direction of Jonathan Biggins, the Australian cast are a dream, all following the lead of Mitchel Butel as Rod and Princeton. Every time I see Butel on a stage, I want to join the Mitchel fan club and force lesser performers to sit and watch him until they too begin to get what being on a stage is all about. Even with his hand up a puppet, you forget about the performer and only see the character.

Avenue Q will let you laugh til you cry and cry til you laugh. I’m still singing “Fine, Fine Line” and think I want to stop shaving and grow a layer of all over fur, just so I can hang out with the Bad Idea Bears and surf the net with Trekkie.

Or just see it for the sex. And yes, now you can click back to the porn.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.