Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Avenue Q

Costa Rica tales will come. I just have to upload all the images on Matt's camera to my laptop so that I can share all the interesting sights and sounds of that land of the lost. Trust me. It looks like a place that time forgot. It feels as if at any moment a brontosaurus will come stomping out of the brush.

So in lieu of this hiatus, I'll tell you about what I did last night. Prior to our vacation, I bought tickets for Matt and me to go see Avenue Q, the delightful little musical about puppets behaving in unmuppet-like ways.

It's not as in-your-face offensive as Team America, but it's definitely no Sesame Street. There's puppet sex, puppet gayness and puppet masterbation is alluded to. At intermission a couple of old ladies piled into a cab, presumably because all that puppet nastiness made them feel faint.

Overall I thought it was a decent play. The music is fairly simplistic and the singing is decent (actors must sing in the characters' voices which tend to be somewhat nasally, so most of the vocals sound somewhat strained). The acting is as good as it can get with puppets, and the puppetry is pretty outstanding. Because this was Broadway in my Asshole (okay, it's actually Broadway in Chicago, but I can't really respect an institution which seems to continue to spell death for storefront theaters), the production value was huge, huge, huge. I don't think Straw Dog or Stage Left could ever afford to have pyrotechnics or two-story tall sets.

The first act was good and well-paced. The characters are quirky and likeable. Songs are catchy, but easily forgettable (I had heard most of the songs before, but the only one I seem to get stuck in my head is "It Sucks to be Me," probably because they reprise it like twice throughout the show). The second act is a little more flawed. The resolutions to the problems created in the first act are fairly deus ex machina, as if the writer got to page 100 of his script and realized he better end this thing quick.

Overall I can't complain. Tickets were pricey, but such is big box theater. The rest of this week I'm slated to go see shows for the Chicago Improv Festival. Be on the look out for my reviews of several shows on the best Web site ever, The Bastion.

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