By JOSEPH GARAY
“Avenue Q” blasted its way onto the University of Mary Washington stage with an array of brightly colored Sesame Street style characters. Don’t let the puppets and the set fool you – this is not your child’s Sesame Street. This is the “adults only” X-rated version. Starting Nov. 5 the musical “Avenue Q” can be seen in DuPont Hall on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.
According to the University of Mary Washington website, “Avenue Q follows Princeton, a recent college graduate, as he discovers what real life when he wakes up as a college grad.”
With help from his friends and neighbors, “Princeton learns about theimportance of having friends while navigating the sometimes disappointing waters of being a grown – up.”
As it was in the previous production “Noises Off,” it is evident that there was an extensive amount of work that went into the creation of this musical.
Though this production lacks the breakneck speed of “Noises Off,” it too presents its own challenges for the cast members: acting through puppets.
For the most part it is as if the human actor is not even present as the dialogue and the actions coming from the puppets were extremely well practiced and entertaining.
It is, however, hard to focus on the puppet instead of the actor, who wore the same expression as the puppet. This shows the level of devotion they bring to the musical. In particular, Josh Bartosch, who portrayed Princeton and Megan Khaziran, or Kate Monster, both did a great job bringing their respective characters to life.
The musical brought many laughs from the audience. “[“Avenue Q”] is witty and modern enough for audience members to really connect with what’s going on, and it’s hilarious,” said Oceana Peemoeller, a senior English major.
Though for some in the audience it may have been difficult to connect to the depiction of Christmas Eve through the mouth of a Japanese therapist. This same theme of social commentary was upheld in a couple other songs throughout the musical, particularly the song “Everyone is a Little Bit Racist.”
Despite all this, however, Peemoeller found “Avenue Q” to be “an extremely enjoyable musical that its audience can [in some way] relate to,” also adding that her favorite characters were the Bad Idea Bears, who were portrayed by Lydia Hundley and Neal Gallini-Burdick. “I liked their use of the TV screens to [bring in] a childlike quality to the musical, despite it not being child appropriate,” said senior psychology major Berringer Flood.
From the disillusionment of what adult life is like to the anxiety brought on by unemployment and mounting bills, this play has many moments with which the audiences, particularly students, are able to connect to. With great performances from all the cast members, this musical has audience members laughing, and searching for an answer to a question that many English majors can relate to: “What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?”
“Avenue Q” began its three-week run on Nov. 5 and goes through Nov. 22. Tickets are $10 for students and can be purchased an hour before the show begins.