Monday, April 27, 2009

Avenue Q

Renee and I had loose plans for our anniversary. She wanted to meet in Times Square after work for dinner. I had to wait a couple of hours for the babysitter and in that time Renee went to TKTS and got tickets to Avenue Q.

We'd been wanting to see this show for five years. And I wasn't disappointed. IT's easy to do adult Muppets. Peter Jackson did it. Seth Green and Eugene Levy did a whole series about it. Throw a rock and you'll hit a video, an mp3 or fan fiction on Muppets cursing and having sex. Hell, I made one.

But "Avenue Q" manages to take the extra effort and hang a story on all the shock. It's at once a love story, an homage to "Rent" and a parody of "Sesame Street".

The technique is stunning to watch. As has been reported hundreds of times, the puppeteers share the stage with the puppets. There or no fake walls or camera frames to hide behind. It's a performance and a behind the scenes look at once. Puppeteers match eye contact and expressions with their characters. They switch from one puppet to another in the middle of a scene or voice two characters while a stand in mainpulates one. It must be what a day with Jim Henson must have felt.

I didn't fall in love with it. A funny thing happens to comedy when it ages. It loses its edge. Gary Coleman jokes must have felt original and sharp when the show opened. Now it's quaint. Spending an entire story arc on whether a Bert stand-in is gay doesn't challenge the audience today. And the songs meant to jar the audience simply delight them. This how can run twenty years but by then it won't be a pardoy of "Sesame Street". It will be "Sesame Street".

Here's a badly shot Youtube sample:

No comments: