Danielle RoperLucie-Mae Sumner, doubling up as the voice of good girl led astray Kate Monster and the vampish Lucy the Slut, is the stand-out star of the show
Internet porn, gay love and racism are just some of the topics unashamedly tackled in award-winning musical Avenue Q. The laugh-a-minute show last trod the boards in London back in 2010 and now it’s back for a riotous UK tour. Best described as an ‘adult Sesame Street’, the show follows a group of neighbours in a down-at-heel New York suburb brought together by the common complaint that their lives ‘suck’. The cast is a combination of puppets and people, including the unabashed Lucy The Slut, closet gay banker Rod and wacky Japanese Christmas Eve. The two central characters are Kate Monster, a slightly-tired stereotype of a girl desperate to get married and Princeton, who conveys an all-too familiar portrayal of a man who is decent at heart but can’t help himself and sleeps with Lucy The Slut. LARGER THAN LIFE: Trekkie Monster in action Cute puppets they may be but their creators embrace adult subjects and use these themes as the basis of tongue-in-cheek numbers such as Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist, and The Internet is for Porn. It soon becomes clear why the show has an age recommendation of 14+ as the brightly-coloured residents embark on a drunken orgy of internet porn and wild sex (in between bouts of singing). All thoughts of Sesame Street disappear when you see Princeton and Kate Monster having a night of expertly-puppeted sex after being egged on to drink by the aptly-named Bad Idea Bears. The puppetry in general is flawless and enchanting, the singing voices pure and powerful, all the more impressive for the deliberate unobtrusiveness of the puppet masters. Lucie-Mae Sumner, doubling up as the voice of good girl led astray Kate Monster and the vampish Lucy the Slut, is the stand-out star of the show, with Jacqueline Tate who plays Christmas Eve also giving a short but beautifully-rich vocal performance. There is definitely a cheesiness about show – especially evident in songs such as the one about how good it is to help others even when you’re homeless. There is no real storyline either but it doesn’t really matter. These minor faults can be forgiven because the puppets are fascinating, the songs are uplifting and the whole production is extremely watchable.