Review: Avenue Q

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Leeds Grand Theatre

Puppets swearing – now that’s funny. But only, it transpires, for a little while.

Even for someone who is in thrall to the modern trend of the infantilism of adulthood, a swearing puppet wears thin eventually. Nurtured in my teens on The Simpsons, my twenties on South Park and now in my thirties on Family Guy, the juxtaposition of adult themes in an immature medium is something that is always going to appeal. What I didn’t realise was why it would charm me so completely.

It turns out Avenue Q is infinitely more than swearing puppets (there isn’t actually that much profanity in the show) and inappropriate songs. It is a musical with a genuinely impressive score, something to say, a book that is all heart. The story follows fresh faced Princeton, who graduates from college, hitting real life with a bang when he realises his degree is useless. He is befriended by various puppets on the only block he can afford to live – Avenue Q – and sets about finding his place in the world. A gay puppet unable to come out of the closet and Trekkie Monster, who is ‘a bit of a pervert’ are among the other residents of the block. The songs are utterly inspired, one about the true use of the internet had me laughing for days and watching puppets behave inappropriately is amusing. But it is the enormous heart at the centre of this story that makes it worth returning for.

To July 21.