‘Avenue Q’ was playful.
Have you ever felt strung out? Have you ever felt like you were not in control or wished someone would just give you a hand? You’re not alone, these are the themes that permeate Beenleigh Theatre Group’s ‘Avenue Q’.
‘Avenue Q’ is a Tony Award-winning musical that combines live actors and puppetry. This irreverent musical explores the joys and challenges of adulting as it follows the lives of a group of 20-somethings living on a rundown street, Avenue Q. Revolving around Princeton, a recent college graduate who moves into an apartment and meets some new friends, who help him explore love, friendship, sexuality, and the struggles of adulthood.
Set Design by Tayla Simpson and Daniel Dosek instantly ensures audiences feel comforted in the familiarity of childhood television shows. It made the neighbourhood feel welcoming and had nice warmth in the colouring. Lighting Design by Perry Sanders perfectly captures the show’s gritty, urban feel while adding an extra layer of visual interest to the production. The use of colour and dynamic lighting effects helps to set the mood for each scene and added depth and dimension to the show. Zach Rosing’s use of animation in the multimedia masterfully blended the parody humour of a kid’s show. Costuming by Tayla Simpson added an extra layer of personality and humour to the show.
Band Director Peter Lavrencic and the band packed a punch. Combined with Vocal Director Rachel Love, the music and singing throughout the show were wonderous. The attention to detail is evident in every musical number, from the intricate harmonies to the expertly timed musical cues. Their leadership ensure that the music was always at the top of its game.
The direction by Tayla Simpson and Daniel Dosek was remarkable. Their vision of the show ensured that the audience got plenty of belly laughs, but like any satire or parody, it also highlighted what makes children’s educational shows so loved. Underneath the clever crass lies a wholesome message, which both directors expertly presented through their blocking, character motivations and comedic gags.
Michael Mills, as Princeton brought a level of energy and enthusiasm to the role that was truly infectious. Rachel Love as Kate Monster warmed the hearts of the audience with an innocent and playful character. Both Mark Rickell as Nicky and Michael Ware as Rod played the perfect odd couple roommates, with great comedic timing and heart shown in both performances. Dan Konstantinos as the perverted Trekkie Monster, delivered a hilarious sleazeball. While Clare Thomson’s sultry performance as Lucy added a saucy undertone to the piece with great comedic timing. Each performer who worked with a puppet masterfully handled the skill of puppeteering, so much so that you are drawn to watching the puppets throughout the show.
Lonnie Tola as Brian played a loveable goof to perfection. His comedic timing and mannerisms felt like a goofball you would hang out with. While Rowena Orcullo Ryan as Christmas Eve brought a grounded calm with their great performance. Ryan showed plenty of comedic strength and a heartwarming depth that added to the show. Zara Lassey as Gary Coleman was hilarious. For plenty of moments throughout the show, the audience was in stitches with Lassey’s comedic delivery and timing. The ensemble worked well alongside the mains, with great harmonies and side gags throughout the piece. The dancers for the show, led by Choreographer Tayla Simpson, added a subtle joy to the show with some breathtaking movements.
Life can be difficult, but with shows like Avenue Q, you realise that you are not alone and it’s okay to be you. This was expertly applied all around in this production by Beenleigh Theatre Group.
Avenue Q performs until Saturday, 6 May 2023 at Crete Street Theatre. For more information visit their website.