Anyone who goes to see Avenue Q at Milton Keynes Theatre this week will struggle not to fall in love with the cast of the award-winning musical.
Princeton, a bright-eyed graduate who comes to New York City with big dreams and very little money, soon discovers that the only neighbourhood in his price range is Avenue Q with its smorgasbord of quirky neighbours.
There’s Brian the out-of-work comedian and his therapist fiancée Christmas Eve, Nicky the good-hearted slacker and his closet gay Republican roommate Rod, an Internet ‘sexpert’ called Trekkie Monster and the delightful kindergarten teacher Kate Monster.
Not forgetting the building’s superintendent Gary Coleman who gives Princeton the keys to his new flat, heralding the start of a journey where he tries to find what his purpose in life is.
There are ups and downs for Princeton as he meets a girl, then meets another girl, and struggles to work out who he really wants.
As well as the trials and tribulations of young love, Avenue Q deals with some very adult themes, including racism, anxiety, drunkenness, internet porn and gay love.
But it’s co-creators Jeff Marx and Bobby Lopez manage to make the somewhat racy material more palatable by filtering it through cute puppets and featuring a range of light-hearted and entertaining songs including The Internet is for Porn and Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist.
They also came up with the idea of the puppets and puppeteers working side by side rather than trying to create an illusion of ventriloquy, which is just brilliant.
All the puppeteers are very talented, and while you think it might be off-putting to have the puppeteers clearly visible as well as the colourful creature with big googly eyes at the end of their arm, it really does work.
Their skill at voicing the character while mirroring every look, every emotion and every movement at precisely the same moment as the puppet is really impressive to watch.
Avenue Q really does have a warm and very fuzzy heart and will make you smile - a lot.
The show does make fun of numerous groups of people in society, which some may frown at, but if taken in the tongue-in-cheek manner in which it is intended, I am sure most people will love it.
Avenue Q is running at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday (May 21) with tickets on sale at the box office on 0844 871 7652 or by visiting www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes.