Review: Avenue Q, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, until Saturday

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I’VE been fortunate enough to have seen Avenue Q before, so when the lights went down I knew what to expect over the next two-and-a-half hours.

What I had forgotten though was just how brilliant this show actually is.

Written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx – the latter who was fired from Sesame Street – it took the Broadway and West End worlds by storm when it was launched.

Now it’s on the road touring the UK to bring the crazy world of Avenue Q and all its lovable characters to unsuspecting theatre goers.

Put simply, this is an adult Sesame Street which is suitable for older families and in the two hours it’s on stage it’s hilarious, heart warming and brilliant theatre.

It revolves around Princeton – Q’s newest resident – as he moves in and realises he needs to discover his purpose in life.

Characters helping him along the road are love interest Kate Monster, flatmates Rod and Nicky (suspiciously similar to Bert and Ernie), Brian and Christmas Eve (the token humans), Gary Coleman, who is now reduced to being the handyman following his brush with fame, and the brash Trekkie Monster (and after meeting him you’ll never look at Cookie Monster quite the same again).

The main cast of seven are all superb and it’s a sign of their brilliance that after no time at all you forget that there are puppeteers on stage.

The main duo of Sam Lupton (Princeton and Rod) and Katherine Moraz (Kate and Lucy) are excellent with a real chemistry.

But it’s the duo of Chris Thatcher (Nicky/Trekkie Monster/Bad Idea Bear) and Daniella Gibb (Mrs T/Bad Idea Bear) that steal the show here – simply because they have the best characters to create chaos with.

But of course with any musical the songs are key and every single one hits the spot and brought rousing applause from the audience.

Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, It Sucks To Be You, If You Were Gay and Schadenfreude were stunning and hilarious, but it’s Trekkie Monsters song about the internet that steals the show.

The Sesame Street theme continues with some hilarious video interludes that add to the rude tones of the show – but it’s never crude or offensive something the writers have balanced brilliantly.

If it’s a life-changing theatrical epiphany you’re after then avoid this at all costs, but if a memorable night at the theatre where you won’t stop laughing from the moment you sit down is your thing, then do not miss Avenue Q.