Tour Review: AVENUE Q (Pantages Theatre)

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by Tony Frankel on March 3, 2011

in Theater-Los Angeles,Tours

SHORT RUN, SHORT TOUR, SHORT REVIEW

Photo OneAvenue Q, the delightful musical comedy which affectionately lampoons Sesame Street, blows through town this week at The Pantages as part of a short National Tour.  Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (music and lyrics) have conceived a deceptively simple idea: what would happen if you were to incorporate Life Lessons a child would learn on Saturday morning TV (“what’s my purpose?”) with adult situations (yes, puppets have sex with each other)? Book writer Jeff Whitty ties the astoundingly hummable and funny songs together by concentrating on the relationships of the struggling denizens of New York’s run-down Alphabet City. Much of the fun is derived from the creators’ ability to poke fun at current issues (racism, homophobia, miscegenation) without insulting the audience – you can palpably sense the steam escape from the pressure cooker of political correctness with each guffaw and chortle emanating from the crowd.

Photo SixThis is a perfect gem of a show; I dare say that most of you will exit the theatre with a spring in your step. If you have no other opportunity to see Avenue Q, seize this one. However, be forewarned that here in Los Angeles, there is no more inappropriate place to stage the show (except maybe the Coliseum); this is a perfect musical comedy for a 400-600 seat house, but in a giant theatre such as the Pantages there is no connection between audience and show: actors do not hold for laughs and Jon Weston’s sound design is not just flawed, it’s abominable. Because of this, audience members talked, sang along, and texted during the show. Ultimately, the evening was akin to eating a delicious dessert, but you have to swallow the wax paper that comes with it.

photos by John Daughtry

Avenue Q
scheduled to close in Los Angeles on March 6, 2011
for tickets, visit Pantages Theatre
national tour runs through April 23, 2012
for cities, dates, and tickets, visit Avenue Q on Tour

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