Theatre review: Avenue Q at Manchester Palace Theatre

 Avenue Q Avenue Q

Puppets. Monsters.

A sex scene and a character called Lucy the slut.

Plus a song called ‘We’re all just a little bit racist.’

And another that explains, ‘The internet is for porn.’

What can possibly go wrong?

Avenue Q is not your usual musical.

It is a musical but one that requires the suspension of even more disbelief than usual, seeing as the main characters are all puppets, with puppeteers working and singing side by side with no attempt to pretend otherwise.

But this no mildly grownup Sesame Street or seaside Punch and Judy, put any preconceptions aside.

This is a raucous stampede through the far echelons of political incorrectness, all wrapped up in disarming life lessons executed with a comedic directness that ensured I was not the only audience member crying with laughter.

 Sarah Harlington and Richard Lowe as Kate Monster and Princeton in Avenue Q Sarah Harlington and Richard Lowe as Kate Monster and Princeton in Avenue Q

The story begins with 22-year-old recent graduate Princeton, who arrives with charming naivete to Avenue Q to start a new job and live independently for the first time.

Then reality hits and Princeton, played by the remarkable and hard working Richard Lowe (he also plays Rod) finds himself struggle to find a purpose in life – which is where his fellow residents of Avenue Q come in.

I don’t want to give the story away but he bounced off his love interest Kate Monster, played the equally talented and versatile Sarah Harlington, perfectly – no easy feat as they are not just talking, singing and dancing but managing the expression of puppets with apparent ease.

A lot is asked of the cast and all, without exception, are remarkable and didn’t let a few sound gremlins put them off in any way.

An absolute must see.

But a warning – you will be singing highly inappropriate songs under your breath for days.

And don’t take the little monsters, they may be puppets but this is definitely not suitable for children.

This first appeared in titles including Lancashire Evening Post HERE