In a climate increasingly aware of political correctness, putting on a show that somewhat crudely tackles racism, homosexuality and pornography is no easy feat. That being said, throw in fantastic direction, a tight-knit band, a top-notch cast (oh, and puppets), and you’ve got a recipe for success.
From the moment the lights went down, Avenue Q radiated energy. Opening with the scarily relatable ‘What Do You Do, With A BA In English’, we were first graced with the pleasure of hearing the captivating pipes of Ronan Pilkington, who plays protagonist Princeton. Pilkington continued to be consistently fantastic throughout the entirety of his performance, so much so that he and his felt-accomplice actually melded together into some kind of quasi fabric-humanoid that can only be seen as a true testament to his flawless portrayal.
In fact, the entire cast was phenomenal. There was not one lag in energy throughout both acts, despite quite a few problematic microphones. Personal favourites of mine had to be Nicky and Rod, played by Barney Howe and Joe Bell, respectively. I’m not sure if this was their first time acting closely together, but their rapport was extraordinary. Rod’s difficulty accepting his sexuality is, for many, an all too familiar struggle made hilarious through his dramatic line delivery and his use of physicality to contrast campness and the closet. As for Howe, every time he opened his mouth I found myself asking Howe (pardon the pun) he managed to perfect his kermit-like voice so well. It was truly a sight to be seen. These two were an absolute pleasure to watch, and I even found myself feeling a little sad whenever they left the stage.
Another real highlight for me has to be ‘Schadenfreude’, a song in the Second Act. Whilst it was clear Dapo Agiri, who played Gary Coleman, has a real powerhouse of a voice from the very beginning, it felt like he was holding back in Act 1, with songs that couldn’t fully utilise his vocals. It was an absolute thrill, therefore, to seem him be able to completely let loose for this song, and show off how good of a singer he really is, once again, an absolute pleasure to be witness to.
Considering it was put together in just six weeks, this show was a real indicator of just how lucky we are at this Uni to have so much talent. I highly recommend that you be sure to catch the next show, and marvel at its greatness.
Image Credit: ToDoCanada