So, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the dress rehearsal of Avenue Q last Thursday at Eastlight Theatre. My good friend, Phil Raso, has a role in the play/musical/comedy. I was so impressed with the whole shebang I promised to blog about it.
However, someone has beat me to it, so I want you to read their "review" first:
A Great Day In Peoria: - Theater Review - Avenue Q
Actually, I wasn't really planning on writing a review per se. I'm not a playgoer. In fact, they're really not my thing. I don't understand why people feel they must sing what is normally said. It seems odd. I don't watch Glee.
So when my good friend Frandy invited me to see her husband perform as a puppet in this "adult version of Sesame Street", I thought, "Is she for realsies?"
Apparently my aversion to the theater has made me miss out on seeing the "full blown" version of this hilariously disrespectful gem. Even tamed down, I still found myself gasping with my hand over my mouth like a little old lady who just got her ass pinched.
Here's the deal. I'm not well-versed enough to tell you how deep the character plot was or how resonant the actor's voices were or their stage presence or anything like that. I don't have a clue. But I'll tell you what I saw.
Picture the scene on Sesame Street. Now picture the puppets. Except the guys that control the puppets are right there on stage with them. The thing is, you don't really notice them, because they are SO GOOD at letting the puppets do the acting FOR THEM. After awhile, you're watching only the puppet, even though the voice is coming from the guy with his hand up its furry ass.
Anyway, these puppets. They're not learning about sharing, counting, or the letter "M". There's no "C is for Cookie", "It Ain't Easy Being Green" or "Rubber Duckie". Nope. Instead, the song list includes, "It Sucks to be Me", "If You Were Gay" and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist".
Not to mention "The Internet is for Porn" (sang eloquently by large surly puppet Trekkie, manhandled by family guy Phil Raso), and "I'm Not Wearing Any Underwear Today", by one of the few non-puppeted characters, Brian, played by the "John Candy meets Chris Farly" actor Derek Pitzer.
I could tell you the storyline, but you can look it up. It really doesn't matter, and that's not what was so great about it. What made this play great was the absurdity of it - puppets, porn and foul language. Will you be offended? Maybe. But the other thing I noticed is that all of the songs - all of the lyrics - everything that was said... was true.
It does suck to be you sometimes. And sometimes, when someone tells you how much their lives suck, you feel the need to outdo them and show them that your life sucks even more. True? True.
Everyone IS a little bit racist. You can tell me you're not. You are. Don't lie.
And about the porn thing? I myself don't surf it, but I am constantly AMAZED at the normal folks that do. Whatever floats your boat - just don't do it on my computer.
Oh, and the underwear? No comment.
But seriously. It takes a lot for me to laugh. Really, really laugh. And as much as I laughed, it also gave me quite a bit to think about above and beyond the depricating humor. Specifically, the angelic voice of Kates Sitton as Kate Monster laments in "It's a Fine, Fine Line" that there's a fine, fine line between love and a waste of time, what you wanted, and what you got. Who thought I'd tear up listening to a monster sing that? And Schadenfreude, an amazing tune that talks of how we all derive pleasure from other's pain. Tough to admit, but at times true, no? Just a little bit? Come on.
What I'm saying is - from someone who isn't particularly interested in seeing theater productions of any kind - I'm dying to go see this again. And to take my husband. And my friends. But not my kids. This is definitely a "Rated R" kind of play - and that's with it tamed down to Midwest standards (which is kind of too bad).
So go see it. Here's a link to the show dates, times, prices, cast list, and everything else you need to know. If you want a good belly laugh and a little does of reality, check your high horse at the door and go see Avenue Q.
Eastlight Theatre Presents Avenue Q