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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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.