We went to see Avenue Q this weekend! We'd been looking forward to it ever since I first got the announcement that it was coming to our neck of the woods, and it did not disappoint. There's a good summary of the plot here
for anyone who's interested.
Avenue Q is perhaps best termed as 'Sesame Street for grownups.' If it were a movie, it would be rated R for profanity and simulated sex. Between puppets, mind you, but simulated sex nonetheless. The show includes some of the funniest, raunchiest songs I've ever heard. 'The Internet is for Porn' and 'My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada' are in no way, shape, or form worksafe, but boy are they a scream.
There are also moments of comedic bliss that don't involve explicit acts or lyrics. 'Schadenfreude', a song that teaches one of the characters (and probably most of the audience) a new vocabulary word a la
Sesame Street or The Electric Company is quite possibly my favorite funny song in the show. The wedding nightmare (featuring a super-giant puppet of the main character's girlfriend in a bridal veil rising Godzilla-like over the apartment complex) is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen.
There were a few things that surprised me about the show. First, it's sweet: it's got an on-off-on love story between the two main characters at its core, and I hadn't expected any terribly deep emotional stuff. Second, it defines a racial divide at the beginning of the show - not between puppet and human characters as one might expect, but between humans (including some puppet humans) and monsters. Not terribly deep, admittedly, but an interesting touch. Finally, it ends up being a quietly wise show. In 'I wish I could go back to college,' a bunch of characters talk about how they'd like to go back to what they know, in a place where their needs are taken care of... then acknowledge that it simply wouldn't work, because they wouldn't fit there anymore. And in 'For Now,' they state that nothing, good or bad, lasts forever.
So: Great show, better and more interesting than I expected. There are certainly good reasons why it won all those Tony awards back in 2003, and I'm delighted that it's finally gone on tour. Do catch it if it comes to your area - it's well worth the price of admission!