22nd October 2014
Trinity Leisure Theatre
Type of Production
Author: Keith Pendall
Avenue Q is a musical that I had obviously heard of but had never seen as a live production. I was treated to a very enjoyable evening by the Bedford Marianettes. Having worked in this theatre myself I found it to have very little atmosphere and was quite obviously part of a Leisure complex. However the company managed to transform the quite bland surroundings into a very intimate performance area for this production. A very clever and multi-level set was created by Corin and Carys Eaton and Steve Ward. It suited the piece very well by using windows, staircases and doors for the cast to use. Simon Tabert directed a small group of competent musicians who were placed at the side of the performance area which in my opinion did not distract in any way from the production.
On reading the directors notes it is clear that Vijay was very fond of the piece and this again was obvious by the amount of intricate details that were included. I spoke to Joel Yentis who played Trekkie monster after the show and he informed me that the cast had only been working with the puppets since the previous weekend. Considering how important the co-ordination between puppet and master is, the cast and crew need warm congratulations for pulling this off so successfully. For example I loved the way that the character Nicky as played by Simon Jackson co-ordinated the puppets movements and gestures by using Ruth Lusby Yentis to provide his other hand, as it were. They both worked together exceptionally well in the “If you were gay” number, and Simon showed himself to be a very competent performer.
Vijay was extremely fortunate to have assembled such a talented cast who all (with no exceptions) looked as though they were loving every minute, and you can clearly understand why. Avenue Q’s Lead roles of Rod/Princeton and Kate Monster had actors who totally excelled in their roles. Stewart Thompson Clark and Leanne White were both totally convincing and again their co-ordination with their puppets was timed to perfection. Stewart was suitably “gay” when he needed to be, but also proved to be very versatile when taking on the more “macho” Princeton. He had a very clear and well projected voice both in the songs and dialogue. I loved Leanne’s performance and I thought her song at the end of Act 1 “There’s a fine fine line” was one of the highlights for me. What a shame though that the performance I was at, a member of the audience decided to noisily return to his seat in the middle of what was a very touching number. Leanne showed herself to be the consummate professional. I also like the performances of Emily Bennett as Christmas Eve who again put over her song “The more you ruv someone” very well, showing she had a very clear and tuneful, not to mention powerful voice. Jasmine Turner as Lucy “the slut” deserves a mention as she moved in just the right way and once again worked in tandem well with her alter ego.
I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed the production as a whole and the Bedford Marianettes should be warmly congratulated for given the Bedford public such professional entertainment, just a pity that more of the public were not present to show their appreciation, although I do understand that most of the tickets for the remaining performances have been sold.