Avenue Q. Picture: Christiaan Kotze

If you want to feel merrily warm in the winter cold and much better about life in general, be sure not to miss the hearty and hilarious frolics of Avenue Q and its quirky puppet characters. It makes for a splendid theatre experience that is quite out of the ordinary.

Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud comedy musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college graduate, named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. 

He soon discovers that although the residents seem pleasant, it is clear that this is not your ordinary neighbourhood.

Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates and their ever-elusive purpose in life.

With a marvellously witty script and lyrics that take the mickey out of hackneyed social taboos, the colourful performers bring street wisdom to sensitive issues. If you were gay? Deal with it. The Internet is great for porn. Who wouldn’t have guessed? Everyone is a little bit racist. Well, maybe just a tiny bit?

Delightfully catchy musical numbers tell the story of Princeton’s existential dilemma (it sucks to be me), his fervent quest for a purpose to his life (fantasies come true) and, finally finding solace in knowing that, even though life may be scary it is luckily only for now.

Avenue Q. Picture: Christiaan Kotze

Director Timothy le Roux expertly merges acting, singing, dancing and, to top it all, puppetry to tell the story in a most entertaining way. One quickly becomes enthralled in the amusingly animated and skilfully choreographed world of these fascinating and eccentric puppet characters.

The multi-talented performers, Ryan Flynn, Ashleigh Harvey, Daniel Geddes, Nieke Lombard, Graeme Wicks and Songezo Khumalo operate the puppets in full view of the audience, using both their hands while singing, acting and dancing. 

They masterfully orchestrate their characters. In what must have taken hours of rehearsals, they flawlessly coordinate their performances, making the puppets the real stars of the show.

Avenue Q. Picture: Christiaan Kotze

Grant Towers (as Brian), Rebecca Hartle (as Christmas Eve) and Yamikani Mahaka-Phiri (as Gary Coleman) are superb in their sumptuously stylised performances.

Dawid Boverhoff’s musical directing excellently brings every song to life.

The man of the moment, however, is Kosie Smit, with his imaginative scenic and puppet designs. His meticulous and ingenious work makes Avenue Q truly memorable.

* Bookings at Computicket.

IOL