Review: "Avenue Q"

October 15, 2008
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A few month's back, I travelled to Louisville to catch the national tour of "Avenue Q." Not only was I anxious to see the Tony-winning show, but I also wanted to catch it before it came to Indy, the better to consider it for IBJ Arts and Entertainment season preview and for our weekly A&E e-mail blast.

What I saw didn't disappoint. Funny (very funny), tuneful and oddly moving, it offered more than just the much-hyped scandelous puppet sex. It also dealt creatively with disappointment (in ourselves and others), expectations and race.

That same production--with only one major cast change--opened at Clowes Hall last night and the production remains solid. The show isn't one that reveals additional nuance on a return visit, though, and it's impact was diminished for first-timers because of the quality of the sound. Many of the lyrics were lost and punchlines distorted, forcing the audience to be less responsive as it otherwise might have been as it collectively restrained itself for fear of losing even more laugh lines.

Still, newcomer-to-the-tour Carey Anderson, a native Hoosier, did her hometown proud with alternating sweet and tart performances as Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut. Robert McClure had charm to burn as both Princeton and Rod. And, taking more of a back seat to his puppets, David Benoit made Nicky, Trekkie, and one of the wonderful bad idea bears shine.

"Avenue Q" is in town until Sunday. More info here.
  • We enjoyed the show for the most part; however, we could not understand many words. Don't know if it was the sound system or the actors. You can imagine how it affected our opinion. We did very much enjoy the story and the puppets. The set gets a AAA+ rating. We are glad we went.
  • I won't be able to see this show while it is here, so I am glad to read other people's impresssions of it.

    I often find myself saying at my day job, Communication is everything. In theatre, sound quality is everything. If your audience can't hear and understand you, nothing else matters.

    (Unless, of course, you're doing mime or something, but even then, there is usually music to help set the mood. It's distracting if it doesn't sound good.)

    I hope Clowes can fix the sound problems quickly.

    Hope Baugh
  • This isn't a new complaint for Clowes Hall. It was, after all, built to house the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, not musical theater. A marvelous production of A Little Night Music some thirty years ago was likewise, for me, marred by distorted lyrics. As you can see, nothing's really changed.

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