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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pesky Puppets

Theater Reviews

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Awhole generation has grown-up since “Sesame Street” first aired in 1969. The savvy educational public television show that mixes muppets, animation and live actors has become highly iconic. The premise of using the “Sesame Street” format to deliver comically satirical lessons to those who have grown up watching the show is brimming with brilliant possibilities.

As interesting as the premise is, the touring Broadway production of Avenue Q (which breezed through the Marcus Center this past week) consistently fails to deliver on its potential. A cast of characters, including muppetlike puppets, are accompanied by a few non-puppet-bearing actors inhabiting the title street in a competent piece of musical theater. Avenue Q uses the format as a gimmick that becomes cloyingly uninteresting very quickly. Once you’ve gotten used to the puppets dealing with adult issues in a grown-up world, there’s really not much plot to follow and the music is largely forgettable.

Without the puppets, it’s hard to imagine Avenue Q doing very well at all on Broadway. It’s only really entertaining if you turn off your brain and laugh. And while there’s really nothing wrong with this, it’s a lot cheaper to stay home, get drunk and watch children’s programming on DVR.