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Review: Avenue Q, Norwich Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 13:32 23 March 2011 | UPDATED: 13:35 24 March 2011

Potty-mouthed stroll through some very grown-up lessons

They’ve charmed Broadway and the West End – now the loveably hopeless residents of Avenue Q are working their magic in Norwich.

Potty mouthed and politically incorrect, this isn’t a show for the easily offended – but it’s uproariously funny.

Set on a downtown New York street, puppets and people live side by side trying to make sense of life’s burning issues like love, work, relationships and how to pay the bills armed with just a BA in English.

Wide-eyed college graduate Princeton (Adam Pettigrew) is trying to find his purpose in life, but keeps getting distracted by blonde temptresses and absinthe cocktails.

Idealistic Kate Monster (Rachel Jerram) wants to run her own school for monsters and find love, Brian (Edward Judge) wants to become a comedian and Rod (Adam Pettigrew again) seems to have got himself locked in a closet and needs some help coming out.

Landlord Gary (Matthew J Henry) is a former child star who is finding it hard to shake off his old catchphrase, and Trekkie Monster (Chris Thatcher) is spending way too much time on the internet, which, according to him at least, has one very specific function.

Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s show was never destined for the stage, but it feels like its natural habitat.

Billed as an X-rated version of Sesame Street, it teaches you some rather grown-up lessons.

The script is whip-smart and packed with rapid-fire gags.

The versatile cast, some of whom aren’t that long out of college themselves, are fantastic.

There’s some brilliant puppetry and some brilliant voices.

Stand-outs include Rachel Jerram, a veteran of the show having 
appeared in it in the West End and Jacqueline Tate, who plays aspiring counsellor Christmas Eve: both 
have an incredible range.

But for all its subversion – such as toe-tapping ditties like Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist – Avenue Q has a surprisingly conventional ending.

All the loose ends are neatly tied up and it’s sweet enough to give you a toothache.

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