Review: “Avenue Q”

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.

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