Avenue Q brings Naughty Fun to Furry Puppets at Pantages – Limited Run [REVIEW]

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Avenue Q has a limited, local run this week only at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater.  The unlikely puppet-based show became an off-Broadway hit and has delighted audiences from London’s West End to the Vegas Strip.  Now it visits Hollywood.

Yes, I said puppets.  Tonight’s puppets deal with post-collegiate angst.  Mostly finding a new home, getting a job, meeting love interests all while usually broke.

The show opens with “What do you do with a B.A. in English?” as Princeton, a newly graduated 22-year-old, with that useless degree, moves onto Avenue Q. It’s a less-than desirable neighborhood section in New York, which Gotham locals explain is basically Queens.

Soon after Princeton meets the other inhabitants Kate Monster, who is a kindergarten teacher’s assistant,  Christmas Eve, a Japanese immigrant,  Brian, her lazy boyfriend; Rod and his male roommate Nicky, and Trekkie Monster, a…umm…he likes to explore himself sexually – often.  Last but not least Gary Coleman, who takes care of their building.  Yes, that Gary Coleman, only not really. It’s the character of TV fame.

After barely getting settled in, Princeton loses his job and plummets into confusion.  He gets to know Kate Monster, and learns she’s not happy either and dreams of opening her own school for monsters. It seems none of the neighbors are reaching the happiness there were raised to believe they could.

In reality, that’s the lesson for these folks and the audience as well.  Growing up ain’t fair.  Whether you’re a puppet or a person, find happiness whenever and where-ever you can. And of course, to laugh and sing and dance.

Some of the most memorable moments are when you shake your head out of the story and watch the puppeteering taking place before your eyes.  Not just the easy stuff: talking, dancing, singing.  But drinking, sex and flirting.   This cast, many of whom are “Avenue Q” veterans and experts, bring energy and humanity with sophomoric fun.

Avenue Q has great word of mouth and the real thing succeeds with the subversive tone it attempts.  Comparisons have been make to Sesame Street and South Park.  While both are fair, this show stands on it’s own.

Shows from March 1 – 6, 2011
Showtime is at 8:00pm
Running Time: 2 Hours and 15 Minutes
Price Range: $25 – $90