Kira Hall gives a hand to Lucy the Slut in amusing Avenue Q.
AVENUE Q by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington). To August 4. $45-$60. 416-915-6747. See Listing. Rating: NNN
Toronto just can't get enough of the naughty puppets in this Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. After Dancap's Toronto premiere left the Elgin in 2008, the show was revived at Lower Ossington Theatre in January, and is now back for an extended second run.
This production is leaner than Dancap's but still delivers the goods: hilarious Muppet-style puppets behaving badly, and a clutch of catchy show tunes.
Princeton (Adam Proulx), a recent college grad, moves to low-rent Avenue Q in New York City and quickly realizes he has no idea what to do with his life. As he searches for his "purpose," he befriends a motley crew of neighbours who range from Rod (also Proulx), a closeted gay Republican, to Trekkie Monster (Adam Norrad), a porn-addicted recluse, and Kate Monster (Kira Hall), a kindergarten teaching assistant who catches Princeton's eye.
As Princeton and Kate, Proulx and Hall both deliver strong singing and puppet performances, but both seem rushed switching between other secondary characters. Norrad stands out as the gravel-voiced Trekkie Monster, but TV's Nicole Stamp struggles to emulate landlord Gary Coleman's distinctive speaking voice. That said, Stamp's got powerful pipes and nails Schadenfreude, one of the show's best songs.
My only other quibble is with the recurring video elements. The opening sequence looks amateurish and isn't even necessary, while the rest suffer from inconsistent design and poor font choices. But compared to the fun of watching puppets drink, swear and fuck, these are minor quibbles.