Before I open this review, I should mention that I’ve seen this show previously five or six times now, I was a big fan of it in the West End, and saw it every six months or so – so it’s been great to revisit this production here in Manchester, as part of it’s seemingly never-ending UK Tour, and after my having had about 18 months breathing space from it!
Having said all that, there’s not that much more that I can add from my West End review from several years ago – when the show closed, they have clearly recognised that they didn’t need to do anything at all, other than to put everything in a van, and cart themselves around the country – nothing has been messed with, and for that I commend them – this production is still as fresh and brilliant as the day it opened in London back in 2006!!
It was my first time seeing a show at the Lowry (previously, I’ve only seen concerts in the Lyric theatre), and I thought that the venue was one of the best that I’ve been in for theatre! A nice wide stage front, very comfortable seating, and no restricted view, even from the side stalls – very much like that this is now being used more as a touring theatre venue than it was when I was last on the Manchester theatre scene (six years ago, before moving to the West End, and now back!).
It always seems to fall on me to take someone’s Q ‘virginity’ and this evening was no different – it was Max’s first exposure to it. I was looking forward to his reaction most of all the people who I’ve taken to see the show – as he can be quite proper at times, bless him haha! Needless to say, he absolutely LOVED it too – I’ve not heard him laugh so hard in ages, ha!
Cast wise, we had a few of the understudies, who were amazing, and, having flicked through the cast list, are more similar to the casting that I am used to with this show, to be honest, than the principles! The GORGEOUS Luke Striffler was on as Princeton / Rod, and, when not admiring him in his tight outfit which left very little to the imagination, (ha!), I have to say that he actually delivered what has to have been my favourite Princeton / Rod performance of all the productions that I have seen! Kayi Ushe similarly turned in an excellent performance as Gary Coleman, and in short was flawless!
It was also great to see that Edward Judge – who I recognised instantly from my previous obsession with Spring Awakening, was in the Company as Brian, and I absolutely loved Julie Yammanee as Christmas Eve (especially when she came to sit next to me and kept elbowing me for money, heh)! Katharine Moraz excelled as Kate Monster / Lucy The Slut, and gave a performance equivocal to that of West End legend Julie Atherton, in my humble opinion!
The performance on Wednesday night was also the ‘signed’ performance, for those hard of hearing – and I have to say, I actually don’t know what was more entertaining – watching the actors on stage, or watching the awesome interpreter, and all the lewd gestures that he had to make to convey the action… it actually added an extra layer of awesomeness to the production, ha!! Needless to say, I’ve now learned A LOT in sign language, that I perhaps would not have learnt anywhere else!! The Internet Is For Porn was ESPECIALLY educational, and the line ‘honking me horn’ was, well, as you’d expect, haha!
It’s taken 18 long, hard, months for me to get the Q songs properly out of my head, and now all that work and trauma has been undone in one fantastic, and fun-filled night – and the worst thing is, I can’t even hate anyone for it, as the songs are SO fab!! heh. If you hear me singing ‘fuck you lady, that’s what stairs are for’ whenever you’re in the lift with me (or have been running for it), then totally don’t judge me, #stagey is an illness…! hehe.
Avenue Q, may you continue to tour for several years before ending up back in the West End, which sorely needs you – you’re still in my top five babbeh!
If you have Spotify, you can listen to the OBC Recording directly from here – just hit play!