|Date||28th September 2017|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Director||Andrew Ashley and Andy Fretwell|
|Musical Director||Adam Boniface|
|Choreographer||Andrew Ashley and Andy Fretwell|
Author: Christine Castle
I was very much looking forward to seeing Diva Productions first musical at the Carriageworks - they have achieved high praise from productions in Wakefield and now it's Leeds's turn to welcome them! And what a show they gave us!
This comic musical opened on Broadway in 2003 and subsequently in the West End, with a Tony Award behind it. The show's premise is that cute, furry puppets, living in a downtown part of New York, actually get up to very adult activities! Forget Sesame Street, if you can! The puppets are brought to life by human actors, (there are also two humans without puppets). Unlike perhaps 'Warhorse' where you completely disregard the puppeteers, in this show you are torn between watching the humans and the puppets, so well are they melded together. The direction and choreography was in the highly professional hands of Andrew Ashley and Andy Fretwell - great teamwork here, with excellently portrayed scenes. The whole company of very talented actors worked brilliantly together - there was not one weak link. The vocal work was also of a very high standard, under the care of Musical Director, Adam Boniface. 'Princeton' was played by Chris Moss, as the graduate without a 'purpose' - explained on monitors on each side of the stage by video (hilarious!). Anna Potton played 'Kate Monster' with an amazing voice, Luke Gillingham played 'Rod' and 'Trekkie Monster' - such was his ambition to travel from his native Hull to reprise these roles! Please forgive me not personally mentioning all the cast, due to lack of space, but rest assured, the teamwork (and hard work) of them all was appreciated by a full audience who picked up on every twist and turn of the story (very noisily!). As I have seen this musical twice before, I loved seeing their reaction to the 'naughty' scenes' for the first time - wonderful theatre! A stunning set recreated a crummy New York street superbly and mention must be made of the excellent creative team, with Becky Firth as Stage Manager and Gary Kidd, as Head of Stage. The Lighting and Sound, by Jamie Hudson and Will Midgely, was of West End standard - Props by Susie Rowley, well done - I did love the credit to the Puppet Wrangler (Julie Kidd) - but this was so important - these puppets are very expensive and I noticed back stage, they each had their own stand and covers when not being used. This musical takes a great deal of rehearsal and concentration and it showed - professional from begining to the end.
Sincere congratulations to the entire company.