Avenue Q at the Wolverhampton Grand

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Megan Armstrong and Tom Steedon as Nicky and Lawrence Smith as Rod

Book: Jeff Whitty

Music and Lyrics: Robert Lopez & Jeff Markx

Director & Choreographer: Cressida Carré

This week the Wolverhampton Grand has got the perfect remedy to wash away the rainy cold spell we have at the moment as it hosts the latest UK tour of Avenue Q, a musical full of heart and a lot of fuzz.

With themes like racism and a script full of risque comedy, it’s surprising to see just what the group of puppets get away with on stage. Whether it’s their adorable fuzzy faces or just their coy outlook on life, it makes it hilariously funny and not cringe-worthy.

Jeff Whitty’s script is brash, witty while also being a really sweet life story. While the jokes will make you laugh out loud, tucked in it is some lovely and heartfelt life-affirming lessons which vary from being open with others to be generous. Together these themes and the comedy create a feel good musical that is sure to amuse a different sort of audience to what a musical may typically attract.

Tom Steedon takes on the roles of Nicky, Trekkie Monster and one of the Bad Idea Bears while also being the Resident Director. Steedon is a master in handling the puppets he holds, carefully crafting some wonderfully creative, larger than life characters all different and unique. His vocal skills create a variety of voices from the super squeaky Bad Idea Bear to the gruff and porn obsessed Trekkie Monster, it’s quite easy to forget how many different characters he brings to life. Steedon’s version of the Internet is for Porn almost steals the show and brings the house down with laughter.

Cecily Redman takes on the contrasting roles of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Redman pulls off a low tone sleazy Lucy well while also bringing a super sweet and innocent Kate. The rest of the cast all work together to be at one with the puppet they are presenting which all help to create this world where monsters and humans walk along the same tightrope of life.

If you don’t know your Sondheim from your Lloyd Webber or just don’t care and think the theatre or musicals, in particular, aren’t for you, this is a musical that could change your mind. It’s a colourful, fun production that’s so feelgood it should be on the NHS. While not for the easily offended, this is the ultimate night out for a group of friends looking for something to escape and understand the sometimes dark and harrowing world of today in a relatable and boisterously funny way. Be quick though, it’s only here….for now.

*A complimentary ticket was given in exchange for this review. This value for money rating is based on the ticket price value of £39.50 + £3.00 Booking Fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating

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