Contributed by Jennifer Givens.
Puppets, porn, and song effectively come together to explore the truths of one stage of life in the Tony Award winning musical Avenue Q, now playing at the Capitol Theatre. Think Sesame Street meets Rent.
During the college years possibilities seem endless; this show explores the disappointments of real life after college, when dead end jobs, unemployment, bills, and one night stands are the themes of the day. Yet just as in Sesame Street—when the use of puppets allowed for the skillful tackling of difficult issues—Avenue Q’s creation of a parallel puppet world allows us to laugh at portrayals of ourselves in a world where some of the aspects of life normally not mentioned are put on display for all. Puppets search for purpose, deal with racism and homosexuality; they make jokes about masturbation, have explicit sex and develop a sense of community. Songs like "The Internet is for Porn" and characters such as the Bad Idea Bears—who influence Kate Monster (Jacqueline Grabois) to get drunk and sleep with Princeton, (Brent Michael DiRoma) rather than prepare for work the next day—keep the humor and energy level high.
The cast of humans and puppets in this touring production is hilarious, one character is even a portrayal of Utah’s very own, currently infamous Gary Coleman (Nigel Jamaal Clark). While the themes are not as weighty nor the songs as musically memorable as Rent, the strength of Avenue Q is capturing reality with a unique combination of adult themes clever, envelope pushing humor throughout. A few people did walk out during the performance, but if you are up for being challenged by what is acceptable in musical theater—and with puppets—don’t miss it.
AvenueQruns through Feb. 7