Avenue Q is still kicking on and inciting riotous laughs from every audience member who stops by the little New York street that could.
With a few stand out performers assembled by Peter J Snee, the musical invites you into the weird and embarrassingly relatable lives of the neighbours of Avenue Q who seem a lot like the puppets of Sesame Street if they shared the eclectic circle of pals from Friends and all the money and existentialist problems of HBO's Girls.
With music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who both won Tony's for their clever work on the show, it is equally as enjoyable to watch the puppets as the perfomers behind them. Under Peter Snee's clever direction, they all performed some potentially risky material with a wink and a smile that made it perfectly acceptable for the audience to nod and not-so-sheepishly agree! The stand out performances of the night were Andrew Hondromatidis' loveable every-man Brian, Sun Park's perfect comic timing as Christmas Eve, and the combination of Lulu McClutchie and Vincent Hooper as the Bad Idea Bears, who were the perfectly devilish and truly hilarious pair of trouble makers. Vincent Hooper also provided the night's most notable comedy, and one of the strongest voices, with his portrayal of both Trekkie Monster and Nicky, two unapologetically and loveably honest characters, which Hooper nailed in the number If You Were Gay. Sophie Wright's voice shone in both her roles of Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut, with the audience hearing her whole stunning vocal range in just one night. Her performance of There's a Fine, Fine Line was easily the stand out vocal performance of the show. Whilst Ross Hannaford's Princeton left the audience wanting a little more, his conflicted and stubborn Rod was a pure delight and it is clear he is an incredibly talented character actor.
Trevor Jones' orchestra hit all the right notes and was instrumental (pardon the pun) in the comedy of the evening. At times, the choreography performed by the ensemble characters could have been cleaner and more effective but the clever use of John Kerr's set design, combined with some outstanding lighting design, was engaging and inventive. Some of the biggest applause of this particular opening night went to the hilarious transitional videos used in between scenes with tongue in cheek jokes about commitment and relationships (or should we say encounters?).
If you're looking for a night out that has you laughing out loud at puppet nudity, racism, and other people's misfortune combined with some of the finest musical theatre performers in Melbourne, then you need to RUN, not walk, to Her Majesty's Theatre before August 14th.