If you loved Sesame Street as a kid and still cherish memories of Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster, you’ll probably want to skip Avenue Q.
The raunchy, puppet musical that parodies Sesame Street and famously includes scenes of full-frontal (puppet) nudity is back in Vancouver, showing from Nov. 20-Jan. 3 on the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage.
The Broadway smash hit, which has now had several runs in Vancouver, is a ribald, risque remix of Sesame Street, showing what happens when our favourite characters grow up and confront some very adult problems.
It mixes the familiar hand puppets with human characters, who meet and mingle in unexpected ways. Between the self-mocking show tunes with ironic lyrics and crude wisecracks, it’s a pretty good bet you’ll be laughing from start to finish.
The main character, Princeton (modeled after Sesame Street’s Scooter) has just graduated from college and arrives in New York looking for love, a job and a purpose in life. The only neighbourhood he can afford to live in, however, is the multicultural, slightly sketchy Avenue Q.
It’s there that he meets Trekkie Monster, a Cookie Monster-like character who, rather than being obsessed with cookies, is obsessed with porn. He also gets to know another puppet who looks an awful lot like Bert and is struggling to come out of the closet and profess his love to an Ernie lookalike.
There’s plenty of drug and alcohol use and abuse (including a prolonged meditation on how many Long Island iced teas is too many), lots of one-night stands (including scenes of graphic puppet sex) and a whole lot of gleefully un-politically correct racial and sexual stereotypes.
Better still, we even get a brief appearance from wayward child TV star Gary Coleman.
And just when things can’t get any worse, there are the Bad Idea Bears. These anti-Care Bears show up whenever someone is trying to turn a life around and advocate for alcohol, suicide and other terrible quick fixes.
If all this sounds like your idea of great musical theatre, you can catch Avenue Q from Nov. 20-Jan. 3 at the Arts Club’s Granville Island Stage. Tickets start at $29.
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