Provocative, profound puppets perform

By GRACE CLARK

Photo provided by Skylight Theatre Actor/puppeteer Ben Durocher performs with his character puppet, Princeton.

This provocative musical comedy features puppets interacting with humans as each experiences life’s struggles on Avenue Q.  The story is based on the lives of Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, collaborators of the show’s music and lyrics.

“Sesame Street meets the Bronx,” said Amy Bukvich, a Mount Mary student describing opening night of the Tony Award winning musical, “Avenue Q.”

The story’s main character, Princeton, a recent college graduate with a “useless” English degree, sets off to find his purpose in life while living on the affordable Avenue Q. He and his neighbors, monsters and humans, reminisce about life in the real world and their desire for a better one. The show focuses on the problems adults face after graduating college and trying to survive the adult world.

Filled with vulgar language, inappropriate jokes and a puppet sex scene, “Avenue Q” will alarm some audiences. Despite its shock value, the “Sesame Street” spoof is still great fun. Heartfelt moments, memorable songs and witty jokes make the show worth seeing for adults looking for an enjoyable time.

In a show where most of the characters are puppets, the difficult task of suspending disbelief occurred effortlessly as the cast manipulated the puppets.
Ben Durocher, who performed as Princeton and the gay Republican character, Rod, became the break-out puppeteer as his voice flawlessly switched back and forth between the two characters. The slightest tip of the head or opening of the mouth gave these characters life and soul.

The remaining puppeteers — Kate McCann (Kate Monster/Lucy), Jason Jacoby (Nikky/Trekkie Monster/Bad Idea Bear) and Alison Mary Forbes (Mrs. Thistletwat/Trekkie Monster/Bad Idea Bear) — were smooth and impressive as their voices and facial expressions transitioned between characters.

The humans, played by Tiffany Cox as Gary Coleman, Maya Coleman as Christmas Eve and Rick Pendzich as Brian, were hilarious in their representations of a former childhood star and a stereotypical married   couple.

The set design complemented the talented cast. Built to resemble run-down brick buildings, the set featured little doors, which the cast moved in and out of during the show. In addition, a projection screen played short animated clips ranging from Princeton’s thoughts to one-night-stand jokes.

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