Preview: 5 things to watch out for when @AvenueQUKTour arrives

Preview: 5 things to watch out for when @AvenueQUKTour arrives at the Grand Opera House in March.

  

Getting an invite to go to Bristol to see one of my favourite musical comedies, Avenue Q was something I was never going to turn down.

You may recall seeing it in the Opera House a number of years ago, and I’ve seen it on Broadway, New York. A new production is currently touring the UK and is coming back to the Opera House in March.

Avenue Q is basically The Muppets mixed with Friends with a touch of puppet nudity and a sometimes adult theme. It’s a happy comedy which you’ll relate to on some level either from your own life or a friends. It’s a little bit naughty, a little bit human and a whole lot of fun. You can’t not love it.

Our afternoon started with a behind the scenes tour, with no photographs allowed!!! We got to check out the set and see the puppets up close, very expensive puppets I might add, coming in at around £3000 each.

  
Bristol Hippodrome is remarkably similar to our own Grand Opera House, and was not surprisingly designed by the same architect, Frank Matcham in the late 1800’s.

After our tour, we met three members of the cast and enjoyed a fun workshop in puppetry. They make it look so easy, but all agree that it’s probably the toughest role of their careers to date. Being trained in musical theatre isn’t enough, you have to learn and have a natural flair for puppetry, you have to learn how to talk and sing in Avenue Q voices. Quite the challenge.

Jessica Parker, Stephen Arden and Sarah Harlington are part of a cast of 11 who will keep you entertained when the show comes to Belfast. They chatted to us about learning puppetry and how challenging it was at the start and how they can never let their guard down on stage and have to remain focussed.

Jessica and Stephen have worked together on Avenue Q for a few years, and they clearly still have passion for their roles. And having tried to work with Stephen during the workshop with the Trekkie Monster (the big hairy dude with the purple hair), it’s very clear to see how closely they work together, how they need ways to communicate with each other using their bodies during a performance. From watching each other’s breaths, to placing a hand on their partners lower back to feel the start of a breath or a move. Totally fascinating and helped me watch the show later from a different perspective.

  

Things to watch out for during the show:

Sarah Harlington has two roles, Kate a Monster and Lucy the Slut. Watch out for the scene where she plays both at once! And with Jessica the puppeteer of Kate at the time, it’s teamwork at its best!

Kate Monster and Princeton getting together…you’ll never look at a puppet the same way again.

The brilliant and catchy music, including the funny, ‘It sucks to be me’ and ‘The Internet is for porn’…and all I have going round in my head right now is sucka, sucka, sucka, sucka, sucka, sucka…you’ll understand when you see it!

  

The Bad Idea Bears, oh how I loved their bad ideas..well, most of them. They make the worst ideas sound so good. I think we all have a bad idea bear in our heads.

  

Trekkie Monster, who’s just too funny, crude and quite the character. And now that I’ve been his puppeteer and learnt how to interact with him, he’s my favourite monster on Avenue Q

A fun show, with a great cast who you don’t notice after a while as you focus on the stars of the night, the residents of Avenue Q.

Jeff Meredith
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Avenue Q comes to Grand Opera House, Belfast in March. Get your tickets at www.goh.co.uk

Follow Avenue Q on Twitter @avenueQUKTour and use #whatthefuzz or www.avenueQUK.com

Post Author: Belfast Times

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