Review: Avenue Q, Edinburgh Playhouse

The show is staged in a similar way to Sesame Street but with some adult satire
The show is staged in a similar way to Sesame Street but with some adult satire
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Two blocks down from Sesame Street and one over from Broadway is Avenue Q.

****

Its residents are too old to hang out with the likes of Big Bird and Grover any more but too young, green and poor for a picket fence and SUV in the suburbs.

If Chandler Bing had written a musical this would be it, and for the 20 and 30-somethings it’s directed at, it’s just like being handed a retro hamper of your favourite childhood sweets.

Co-starring monsters and humans, the production is staged in a similar manner to cult classic Sesame Street but with a generous helping of politically incorrect satire. The story even comes with a moral ending that many young, directionless college leavers will easily identify with.

Based around the idea of discovering a purpose in life and matching our illusions with the reality in front of us, there are many elements that appeal.

With immaculate timing and personable vim, actor- animators Katharine Moraz and Sam Lupton confidently head the cast as star-struck lovers Kate and Princeton, their performances perfectly capturing the attitude of children’s television while indulging in more adult themes.

Supporting Moraz and Lupton, humans Julie Yammanee, as Christmas Eve, and Matthew J Henry, as Gary, are well drawn, if markedly different in attitude from Sesame icons Maria and Gordon. Their woven counterparts’ witty repartee and knowing interactions also serve to subvert the genre in a myriad delicious ways. It’s a sure bet that Katy Perry would be more than welcome down this street, particularly if Trekkie Monster and the Bad Choice Bears got their way.

An undemanding antidote to the 1990s navel gazing of angsty young slum dwelling artists – think Rent – Avenue Q welcomes the viewer to kick back and embrace our naïve, optimistic, childish side.

However, the conveniently happy yet ambivalent ending leaves one with a sense of superficial pathos. In real life, people tend to get the endings they don’t so much deserve as work to create themselves, but maybe that’s a lesson we only learn as we move our way up through Alphabet City.

This review was brought to you by the letter Q, the number four and the word purpose.

Run ends February 11