A Laughter-filled Trip to Avenue Q

Was it just last week that Avenue Q opened at the Citadel? The amount of buzz has been incredible that it makes me feel like it was longer ago that I saw it! I usually see the Dress Rehearsal as part of my job, but I was out of town and had to wait until Opening Night to see it.  Even that was not a given because the hosue was so full, but luckily I could squeeze in.  I sent my husband and older son to see it, and several friends saw it in Previews and I kept hearing how great it was, so I am pleased to report it was a show well worth the wait! I'd seen Avenue Q before and thought it was a clever show with a saucy side, but it didn't prepare me for how terrific our production would be.  The cast of seven actors (Andrew MacDonald-Smith, Rachel Bowron, Ryan Kelly, Justin Bott, Saccha Dennis, Kimmy Choi, and Elizabeth Stepkowski-Tarhan - who play a dozen characters - some felt, some flesh) are outstanding.  It's hard to single any out because there are no weak links.  They switch puppets fluidly and some voice more than one on stage at the same time and you barely notice because they are so good.  You can see all the puppeteers, but very quickly you forget they are there. They simply become Princeton, or Kate, or Trekkie or Rod.  The direction and choreography (Dayna Tekatch) is also very clever - so connected to the puppet, you swear that that's Princeton's legs kicking or Lucy's swaying hips.  It's not a deep play, although I think it speaks to something that a lot of people relate to - not being where you think you will be in your early 20s and 30s.  It is also very ribald and saucy and steps into naughtiness frequently and unapologetically.  So, basically, not for kids.  There's a puppet sex scene that pushes all the boundaries and is hilarious. I do not think you could do this show any better, in fact, I've heard from a couple people who saw it on Broadway and on the West End who told me that this production is better.  I believe it.  I can't imagine how you could improve on it!

Avenue Q runs to May 24th at the Citadel Theatre.
780.425.1820 or www.citadeltheatre.com

Photo Credit: EPIC Photography


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