...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 2040: Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Avenue Q


We went to the THEATRE today in order to see a MUSICAL PLAY called "AVENUE Q".

I have never sneaked into a theatre before. It is a lot like sneaking into the cinema except that the seats are for people with SMALLER BOTTOMS and there is nowhere to put your HUGE flagon of fizzy pop. In fact there was NO huge flagon of fizzy pop! Although there WAS a break at half-time for ice creams – which was a GOOD IDEA.

The first thing to notice about "Avenue Q" is that several of the actors were carrying FLUFFY TOYS around with them and helping them with the ACTIONS! Just like Daddy helps ME! I felt VERY at home!

"Avenue Q" is the story of one fluffy person called PRINCETON who has just left college with a BA in English and huge student debts and no chance of a job. He moves into the cheapest apartment that he can find – which is in AVENUE Q, hence the TITLE! – and starts running up more bills whilst looking for his PURPOSE in life.

Along the way he meats the other residents of Avenue Q: Brian and his fiancée Christmas Eve, Kate Monster the elementary school teaching assistant; Rod who is in the closet about being gay and in the closet about being a Republican, and Nickie who lives with him; Trekkie Monster (no relation); and the handyman (and former child-star) Gary Coleman. Together and with some songs and cartoon clips they teach Princeton about life.

All of this seemed ODDLY FAMILIAR from somewhere!

It is the old, old story. Boy puppet meets girl monster; boy puppet wins girl monster's heart; boy puppet panics about commitment and finding his purpose; boy puppet loses girl monster; boy puppet meets bad lady puppet who is accidentally struck down by boy puppet's lucky penny flung from the top of the Empire State Building in a fit of pique by girl monster; boy puppet realises the error of his ways and goes begging to raise money to found the monster school that girl monster always wanted; girl monster agrees to take it one at a time with boy puppet; the end. Along the way, their friends get married; become homeless; come out; and fix some plumbing. Plus there was a break for YUMMY ice cream!

My Daddies laughed a lot, but they are easily amused. How much you enjoy this play probably depends on how much you enjoy seeing Muppets say and do things that are totally RUDE.

The musical numbers are very much the happy, bouncy, info-mercial style of the Children's Television Workshop, but with a tell-it-like-it-REALLY-is attitude. So you get songs like "It Sucks to be Me", "The Internet is for Porn" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, Sometimes" which say things that are kind of TRUE but not the kind of truth you normally expect from a cuddly person.

These songs are FUNNY. Though sometimes, you wonder if their eagerness to be INAPPROPRIATE and ICONOCLASTIC doesn't come across as just the tiniest bit RIGHT WING – particularly in "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist" when they suggest we'd be better off if we could admit it and be a little less PC.

It made me think of the "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" campaign that Mr Balloon wrote for the last general election.

It may be true that we are all a little bit racist sometime, but admitting it does NOT make it OKAY.

Also, while LAMPOONING a certain television series for the way that issues from homosexuality to homelessness (brought to you by the letter H) are never mentioned, Avenue Q is unable to go much further than mentioning them. There's a bit more to reconciling being gay with being a Republican than admitting to a fondness for musicals, and homelessness is a lot more horrid that just living in a dustbin.

Fair do's, though: if they did go further it would shatter the format entirely, and it would just not be so funny to do "Muppet Cathy Come Home".

The actors and the fluffy actors were all absolutely TERRIFIC. Some of the fluffy people's arms were worked like marionettes while others had one or two people hands working for them. Either way, it was all very well designed so that actor and fluffy actor could make the same gesture at the same time. I particularly liked the way that Kate Monster and the actor helping her had the same HAIR DO. This was funny! It must be a lot of hard work to be helping a fluffy person AND to sing and dance at the same time; I do not think that my daddy could sing and dance at the same time that I do!

Overall, I would recommend this as a good night out for anyone who has ever been coddled by a warm-hearted, soft-headed, do-gooding, American global television brand. Though maybe best not to take your Mummy along – especially if she is a former Primary School Teacher!

This diary has been brought to you by a (very late) BIRTHDAY PRESENT for our dear friend Alan and we wish him very fluffy happy birthdayness!

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