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Review: Theatre

Avenue Q

Avenue Q

King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Neil Cooper

It doesn't matter how wilfully potty-mouthed it gets, there's something delightfully and reassuringly old-fashioned about Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty's scurrilous Sesame Street-inspired hit puppet musical.

This is despite a set of furry characters who not only swear, but have one-night stands, screw each other over and mess up their lives in a manner that would make Kermit The Frog blush.

As wide-eyed but unemployed English graduate Princeton moves into the down-at-heel but colourful multi-cultural boulevard of broken dreams that gives the show its title, the monsters that occupy it are either porn-crazed sociopaths, in-the-closet queens, slutty night-club singers or, like Princeton's neighbour Kate, a love-lorn schoolteacher.

The people aren't much better, not even down-on-his-luck real-life child star of kids' TV favourite Diff'rent Strokes Gary Coleman, here played by a woman.

Cressida Carre's touring revival for the team behind the increasingly enterprising Sell A Door company doesn't mess with this formula in a production that puts 11 people, including four puppeteers, onstage with an entire community of pastel-coloured creations.

With a set of 1970s TV sit-com- style show tunes dominating, where Sesame Street - whose creators don't have anything to do with Avenue Q in any way - was born of an inner-city counter-cultural melting-pot, Lopez, Marx and Whitty's show is part-austerity culture slacker comedy, part- seemingly politically incorrect post- South Park cartoon giving the world the finger

In the end, with the puppeteers doubling up as a chorus line as everything comes good for Princeton, Kate and the gang, both come from the same sentimental and gloriously harmonious place.

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