Theatre Review: Avenue Q

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 16, 2009

"Avenue Q” borrows cleverly, and often, from the look, sound and format of “Sesame Street.” It’s got a multiracial mix of human actors and puppets, animated bits, and feel-good lessons about friendship… except that in “Avenue Q,” they’re also talking about thins like unemployment.

“Morning, Brian”
“Hi, Kate Monster.”
“How’s life?”
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, the catering company laid me off…”

“Avenue Q” also celebrates -- and tweaks – the idea of political correctness.

(“Everyone’s a little bit racist, sometimes…”)

Truth be told, the story is for grownups. The friendly puppets in “Avenue Q” can get tipsy, or sing about Internet porn, or shuck off their puppet clothes and frolic in the bedroom. “Avenue Q” tries to be sunny and modern and universal, and generally succeeds, while also being smart and naughty, and generally succeeds at that, too. Attitude counts for more than music – these songs aren’t keepers. As a result, this show may not withstand the test of time. . . But if you’re looking for something upbeat and topical, built around the unlikely combination of furry puppets and mature themes, you’ll like “Avenue Q.”