I recently got a chance to see Avenue Q while it had a two week stint here in Chicago. In case you have not heard of it, here is a short explanation:
The show is largely inspired by (and is in the style of) Sesame Street: Most of the characters in the show are puppets (operated by actors onstage), the set depicts several tenements on a rundown street in an “outer borough” of New York City, both the live characters and puppet characters sing, and short animated video clips are played as part of the story. Also, several characters are recognizably parodies of classic Sesame Street characters: for example, the roommates Rod and Nicky are versions of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie, and Trekkie Monster is based on Cookie Monster. However, the characters are in their twenties and thirties and face adult problems instead of those faced by pre-schoolers. The characters use profanity, and the songs concern adult themes. A recurring theme is the central character’s search for a “purpose.”
The above video is a Cloverfield -style clip from the actual stage show of the two best characters, the Bad Idea Bears. In short, the show was fantastic. Part of me wonders whether or not the show would have been as good if it did not involve puppets considering puppets give it a different feel from other stage shows, but I’ve decided that is a little short-sighted. The story is straight forward, but very well told. The humor and timing of the actors is impeccable. And, I felt like it was very well choreographed. You never got the feeling that the puppets were in the way of putting on a good performance…everything just ran seamlessly. I think it is touring around the country right now, so if you get a chance…check it out.