Friday, July 3, 2009

Profane Muppets! Oh My!

I have been seeking a chance to see Avenue Q since I heard a song from the musical--"Everyone's a Little Bit Racist." The idea of a play that uses muppet-like puppets to engage in a bit of social criticism and a heap of profane conversations and visuals was just too over-the-top to ignore. I missed a chance at the ISA meeting in February, but grabbed the opportunity to see the show in London (the show is closing in NYC).

It was quite amusing, and did a nice job of playing with my head. Some highlights and thoughts:
  • The characters include people playing people and muppets being carried and voiced by visible people. And these actors would voice the muppet (unless they were also voicing another muppet on the stage or if the muppet they were carrying was being voiced by someone else), so it was a bit hard to focus on the muppet since I could watch the actor as well.
  • A key pair of characters--the Bad Idea Bears--who encouraged the characters to drink heavily, to perhaps engage in suicide and the like. Quite an interesting addition. I think from now on I will blame my own Bad Idea Bears when I do something stupid/self-destructive.
  • The show included video screens that would occasionally descend and show something relevant to the show, like the spelling and pronunciation of schadenfreude. Yep, schadenfreude was a key concept along the way. And led to the inevitable joke at the expense of Germans.
  • One of the jokes in the song "Everyone is a Little Bit Racist" in the ITunes version refers to Polish, when the Gary Coleman character (played by Gary Coleman originally but not in this show) admits to making racist jokes, but in this show in London, the joke was changed to refer to the French. And it went over well with the audience. Verrrrrrrrrry interesting.
  • The key theme was the lead's search for a purpose. Ultimately, he does not really find one, but does agree with the rest of the cast that everything (except for death and taxes) is temporary, so he should not get upset about such stuff.
I am not a fan of musicals, but this was a great show, well worth the highly discounted tickets (and even worth what it would have cost in NYC).

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