‘Avenue Q’: Politically incorrect with charm

'Avenue Q': Politically incorrect with charm

If it’s irreverent, if it’s politically incorrect, if it’s this
side of raunchy with a velvet glove most of the time
– and sometimes just raunchy – you’ll find it in

Avenue Q

.
If it’s irreverent, if it’s politically incorrect, if it’s this side of raunchy with a velvet glove most of the time – and sometimes just raunchy – you’ll find it in “Avenue Q”.

The 2004 Tony Award winning show is by playwright Jeff Whitty with music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. The story and lyrics are clever and hit their mark with meaning that touches each listener on their own level. It features puppets playing the characters, in “Sesame Street” meeting “Desperate Housewives” in a bad neighborhood without a censor.

Ingeniously choreographed with actors handling the puppets, they create the personalities and pour out emotions with their expressions and body movements. They meld with their characters and the audience sees puppet and actor as one and feels their happiness and pain as one.

David Colston Corris and Ashley Ellen Bucknam deftly handle the main characters and more than pleasantly sing, dance and move in intricate patterns to bring this delightfully, risque bit of theatre to life. The entire cast falls into this pattern moving the characters with stop watch timing and genuine sensibility. When they deliver “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” the audience realizes they are in for a humorous, profound ride.

When Princeton (Corris) realizes a bachelor’s degree isn’t delivering its promise and things couldn’t get much worse, he sings “It Sucks to Be Me.” When the closeted gay Republican investment banker Rod (Corris) suffers because he can’t reveal his feelings for his roommate Nicky (Michael Lascio Jr.), a sense of sadness is felt. Kate Monster and Lucy T. Slut (Bucknam), who both later find religion, are the love interests in this poignant piece and bring to the surface a little of what goes on around us every day. Christmas Eve (Lisa Helmi Johanson), Gary Coleman (Anita Welch – don’t ask), the landlord and Trekie Monster (Liscio), who explains “The Internet is for Porn” and completely disillusions Kate.

There is a wild x-rated scene that, while cleverly done with the puppets, could give a nervous jar to the senses of some folks. (This is not a kid-friendly show).

This is not for everyone, but if approached with an open mind and a flexible adult sense of humor, “Avenue Q” will entertain. The humor, the inventiveness of the presentation and the talent of the people involved prove to be a unique experience.

***

“Avenue Q”

Where: Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market St., San Francisco

When: Through Feb. 27

Tickets: $30-$99

Details: (888) SHN-1799 or visit www.shnsf.com.

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