If like me you were born in the famous summer of 1976, you’ll know two things; it was flippin’ hot, and the Muppets hit our TV screens.
Since that sweltering year I have both tanned well and been a huge fan of all things Muppet, so the arrival of the Muppet styled puppet musical Avenue Q to the Blackpool Grand Theatre, made me just a little excited.
This latest incarnation of the 2002 Broadway and West End hit directed by Cressida Carré, tells the story of recent college graduate Princeton who has moved into a New York apartment on Avenue Q.
Here he meets love interest Kate Monster as well as Rod, Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut and some rather mischievous Bad Idea Bears amongst other socially diverse characters.
Supporting the puppets are Brian (Richard Morse), Christmas Eve, Brian’s Japanese wife (Jacqueline Tate) and Gary Coleman (Ellena Vincent).
Each of these larger than life characters has their own story to tell, while at the same time tackling some rather sensitive issues.
Racism, Internet porn, anxiety and gay love all feature here, and could only be delivered by puppets in this musically humorous way, which never felt like offending.
The voicing and vocal performances are incredible from all the actors, with Lucy-Mae Sumner impressing most, jumping expertly from the starkly contrasted voices of Kate Monster to Lucy the Slut in many of the same scenes.
The skill of these actor/puppeteers is such that even though you see them throughout, you forget they are there, with only skilfully added hints of expression or clever movement making these puppets more believable.
Stephen Arden (Trekki Monster) and Tom Steedon (Princeton and Rod) also impress in bringing their characters to life, while also giving some strong vocal performances.
A little audience interaction, and some cleverly interspersed Sesame Street styled video cuts, add yet more to the incredibly detailed script.
Huge laughs, thoughtful moments and even a few amusing shocks make this one of the best shows I’ve seen, it’s not for kids, but older teenagers would certainly enjoy it.
The show runs until Saturday June 5, 2014 and tickets are still available.
Call 01253 74 33 39 or visit www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk for more details