Avenue Q in Toronto

Thursday Theatre Review (on a Friday) - Avenue Q

Okay, I'm betting that a lot of you have heard the song The Internet is for Porn through the delightful World of Warcraft remake on youtube, well, it really kind of does set the tone for Avenue Q.

If you don't know about Avenue Q, think Sesame Street only edgy and raunchy and pushing boundaries. In short, it's fun, has hum-able music and is funny - but you're not going to leave the theatre with an earth shattering revelation. Well, except maybe that puppet sex is hotter than you expected...

There are certainly didactic elements of the show, it feels a bit like something you'd show 17 years olds to teach them that homophobia sucks, racism exists and it's okay to masturbate. Don't get me wrong, just because you know all that stuff already doesn't mean you won't enjoy it. But, if you have a cousin or sibling who could use a lesson or two, this might be the one to take them to. And while they're learning, you can be laughing and humming and swaying to the music.

My show-partner for this one (John) and I both agreed the show was bang-on. It was really well crafted, performances were tight, set was great, lighting, sound, all of it right on the mark. Which, frankly, is what you expect from a show you're paying $60 - $100 a ticket. In fact, his (and my) only complaint is that the first act felt a bit long. We kept expecting it to end, but then there'd be another scene, then another, then another.

If you're looking for avant-guard high-art then this will disappoint you, but if you, like me, are a fan of sex jokes and a jaunty tune, well, you'll like this one. The show delivers what you expect it to - extremely talented performers, good direction, excellent technical aspects, lots of laughs and smiles, and the occasional heart-wrenching moment. It's got a bit of everything.

Check it out before it closes on August 31st, 2008.

- Avenue Q runs until August 31, 2008 at the Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge Street)
- Show times run Tuesday - Sunday, with additional matinees on Saturday and Sunday
- Tickets range from $60-$100, but there are rush tickets available for $30 beginging two hours before show time (rush tickets must be purchased in person at the box office), details by calling the box office at 416-872-5555

Photo of Anika Larsen and Robert McClure by Carol Roegg

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