"Avenue Q," National Tour, Capitol Theatre, Feb. 2-7, times vary, matinees available (801-355-2787)
Standing outside Capitol Theatre after opening night of the touring musical, "Avenue Q," I watched three ladies gather around the warnings posted on the doors of the theater. "Not suitable for children under 15," they read aloud. "Or women over 47," they added as they walked off shaking their heads.
Broadway Across America has gone out of its way to warn patrons about the content of the Tony Award-winning musical. If you still manage to find yourself sitting in a show that's making you uncomfortable, it's not because of negligence on their part.
Told with humans and puppets, the show is a takeoff of children's TV like "Sesame Street." Fresh out of college, Princeton moves to Avenue Q. With the help of his neighbors, he learns life's lessons — the good and the bad.
Though it's a puppet show of sorts, it is NOT for children.
The content is very much adult. The 20-something characters use bad language (the worst of the worst), make fun of just about everybody, have puppet sex, laugh at the less fortunate and the list goes on. There is something in there to offend just about everybody.
Here's the deal: If that's not your cup of tea, don't go.
I don't like monster truck rallies. I find them a loud assault to my senses. They're not my cup of tea, I don't go. That's it.
You know if this stuff offends you. And if you're at all on the fence, proceed with caution.
For the most part, the opening night crowd didn't seem to mind the language. In fact, they seemed to eagerly anticipate the racier moments. I noticed only a couple of folks leave early.
The challenges for cast members are several — they must be engaging, yet not steal the puppets' spotlight. Some of the actors must also create different voices as they play multiple characters. In this case, they hit their marks. Brent Michael DiRoma plays Princeton and Rod — a neighbor living with his friend, a la Bert and Ernie. DiRoma is delightful, with great physicality and mannerisms for both himself and his puppets.
Jacqueline Grabois plays Kate, Princeton's love interest, and also Lucy, a trampy nightclub singer. She was equally skilled at handling the puppet, and her contrast of voices was wonderfully clear.
One major complaint was the sound mix. The orchestra dwarfed the lyrics — and if you can't understand what's being said, you miss the comedy.
If you have ever been disillusioned with life, ever wondered if this is all there is, and if you're craving this flavor of tea, "Avenue Q" will likely hit the spot.
Sensitivity rating: Strong language, puppets having sex, suggestive dialogue, racial slurs, drinking.