Avenue Q: Curtain Call

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Avenue Q Cast

 

Well after six months of hard work it’s all over. The Set is away, puppets boxed up, cast recovering from hangovers and a tinge of sadness at having to say goodbye to an amazing experience. People spoke about how they thought it would be sad to finish, but for me I have a tremendous mount of pride in what we as a group achieved over the last week. You don’t want to pick out favourites – and the great thing is that I don’t have to because this was an ensemble piece that needed everyone working together for the show to be a success. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this show and it was down to these people:

Sophie “Kate Monster” – A real professional with a great sense of humour. She perfected and made Kate adorable and foul-mouthed in equal measure. Every night I heard feedback from friends in the audience that said her performance of “Fine Line” brought them to tears. A genuinely lovely person and I wish her all the best for her wedding next year.

Roo “Princeton” – I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like Roo before. A hyperactive potty-mouthed c*nt is probably a fair assessment of him but his work ethic and abilities shone through. In the last few weeks you saw the work that he had put in to the part and made what could have been an unlikeable character sweet and funny. A great and talented guy.

Matthew “Rod” – My sparring partner in the double act that he stole the spotlight in every night. From the voice to the manipulation of the puppet he stole the show for me and it was a privilege to perform alongside him. His generosity and help was invaluable in getting the double act just right. I am so pleased that I got to work with him.

Rachael “Gary Coleman” – A voice that is big and powerful and a sponge-like mind to pick up lines, harmonies and blocking on the first go. She is so skilled on stage and the ability to jump in and out of character is fantastic. While I know she was worried about perhaps causing offence, her performance as the former child star superintendent was pitch perfect.

Jennifer “Christmas Eve” – There’s a switch that goes on in Jennifer and you can see how seriously she takes the performance but she is so sweet and funny too. The fact that she doesn’t take herself too seriously either makes her even more adorable. Her singing is great and she can kick ass at karaoke too.

Steve “Blian” – Dopey, lazy and hen-pecked, this role was a real stretch for Steve… How he managed to juggle directing one show and being in another is beyond me but somehow he did it, and with great success. His cowboy hat action is something that will stay etched on my brain for a long time. Great to be around and a real support too.

Sandra “Thistletwat” & “Nicky’s right hand gal” – The best compliment about the show I heard was about Sandra, that she was so in sync with Nicky that you forgot there was only one person working the character. She adapted and coped with being the other half of Nicky that I forgot she was there sometimes as it felt so natural. A huge thank you to Sandra without whom the character would not have been the same.

Gavin & Tanya “Trekkie Monster” – Again a double act with one puppet and it was the combination of the two that made the character great and such a favourite with the crowd. Both were great at taking ideas on board and the development of the character and the voicing by Gavin made it a memorable character. In the rehearsals and backstage they both were so positive all the time – an asset on a show like this.

Gav & Naomi “Bad Idea Bears” – the teamwork continued with these two and both great performers individually they combined so well as the conscience of Princeton. How Gavin was able to take the lead in “The Producers” and balance that with AQ is beyond me but he nailed it on both counts. They were a potential odd couple but combined brilliantly in the show.

Michelle “Lucy” – The classiest slut around! The last of the cast to mention but a scene stealer each time she appeared, Michelle added a real depth of flavour to the puppet and I think she bonded with Lucy as much as I did with Nicky. She built up the persona and played it perfectly.

With the production team it’s difficult to know where to start but to all of you thank you and the amount of faith and patience you all showed with me during the process was hugely appreciated. Craig especially trying to rein in the idiot that couldn’t harmonise for five out of the six months did a great job. John was a great source of joy and laughter throughout and provided great advice and tips that gee’d me on. Lisa always had her work cut out because this boy ain’t built for dancing but she smiled and suffered my mistakes well. Neil was always great company throughout the process and never dismissed any of the many stupid questions I asked along the way. Ross, as always it was a pleasure working with you so let’s not leave it so long next time. Davie, Hayley and the Gordons kept the mood positive backstage and the band (especially cousin Callum) did a great job considering the short space of time they had to learn the score – phenomenal.

If this is the only musical I ever do then I can say with confidence that it was a great, rewarding and humbling experience to work with such amazing people. The key to selling out for the five performances and receiving all the praise the show did was down to everyone working together. Stuart pulled all those parts together and him I have the final thank you for. As Director people think it’s all about ordering the bodies around on the stage, but it’s not it’s about ensuring the right people are in the right jobs and then guiding the whole process through to the end. Thank you for taking a chance on me – I know I wasn’t first on your list before auditions and I’m sure throughout the rehearsal process I can guarantee you questioned the decision a couple of times – but in the end I think i got away with it and that’s down to you, your support and your positivity (even though like me you haven’t told your face yet.)

So farewell to my small green buddy Nicky and to an experience I’ve wholeheartedly enjoyed. I doubt I’ll be able to top it, but you never know what my next challenge will throw up. Thank you to everyone from the show and to everyone who came to see it and said such nice things about it. It was a pleasure to do and I’ll miss the camaraderie twice a week of a bunch of loons and their puppets.

JD

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