Five stars

Broadway Across America-Indianapolis; Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University; Oct. 14-19

Avenue Q is a poignant, tongue-in-cheek romp across our contemporary emotional, social, political and economic landscape where mugging is a directorial decision, homelessness hovers yet never swoops down for the kill and inappropriate gets a laugh. As a tight ensemble with split-second timing running the gamut of dialogue, song and dance and cross-current inter-relationships, what’s going on is closer to reality than we’d like to admit. Witnessing the remarkable staging, production qualities, story, lyrics and music for the second time is definitely a plus. In the audience initially for the show’s appearance in Louisville, this reviewer was so engrossed in the puppets as living characters, I wasn’t as fully invested in the amazing nuances and bonding between live actors and puppet characters, as was the case now at Clowes. The puppets are billed as the stars, yet every praiseworthy adjective could be bestowed on 10 actors, all supported by an outstanding band and artistic/production teams. Indiana’s own Carey Anderson earns high praise for the diverse roles of Kate Monster and Lucy The Slut. Rick Lyons deserves hyperbole for the puppet design. Nothing is sleight of hand — it’s all out there in a situation as classical as Dickens’ 19th century observations.

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