“Avenue Q” is a great show, but it’s not something every theater company can do. More than half the cast are puppets, and there’s an overall look to the production that’s both difficult to achieve and costly to capture.
Not so for the Lyric Stage Company. Its take on the Tony Award-winning musical is blisteringly funny and also one of the finest productions they’ve ever done.
Part of the magic of the Lyric’s production is the brilliant scenic design of Kathryn Kawecki. Even if you’ve seen the show on Broadway, the moment you walk into this theater, you know you’re about to go someplace unlike anywhere else you’ve ever been.
On “Avenue Q” a group of twentysomethings share this city block as they try to navigate their way through early adulthood. Musical awakenings like “It Sucks to Be Me,” “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” might feel generation-specific, but they play to the heart and funny bone of everyone.
In order for this show to work, you have to believe the puppets are as real as the humans they interact with. The moment John Ambrosino steps on stage, his puppet Princeton comes to life in a brilliant display of acting, puppetry and voice that makes you see gestures and facial expressions that just can’t happen.
Erica Spyres is equally convincing as his love interest Kate Monster. When she closes the first act with “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” you’d swear there are tears streaming down her furry cheeks.
As with most feel-good musicals, everything works out in the end. But getting there on “Avenue Q” is about as much fun as you’ll ever have in a theater.
Though “Avenue Q” is a puppet show, it’s not suitable for children. Mature themes, adult language and hot, steamy (but ridiculously funny) puppet sex await you.