LA Review: 'Avenue Q'
3-D Theatricals at Plummer Auditorium
Reviewed by Eric Marchese
July 14, 2012
Dawson's cast captures the deliberately contrived buoyancy of the show's characters. Those performers who are also puppeteers prove highly talented at that particular skill, their singing and acting abilities contributing to the illusion that the puppets are real. Louis Pardo and Caitlin Humphreys get at the delicate core of the budding, often troubled romance between Princeton, a recent college grad trying to find his "purpose" in life, and Kate Monster, a kindergarten teacher's assistant who dreams of one day opening her own "school for monsters." The actors expertly tap the humor and poignancy of their roles, and their wild, frantic sex scene, which features "full puppet nudity," is a masterpiece of down-and-dirty comedy. Humphreys' exceptional talents are plainly in view in her two contrasting characterizations: the goodhearted, girlish Kate and the sultry, skanky nightclub singer Lucy the Slut, the latter generating some of the evening's most sexy-nasty moments.
Pardo is also adept at essaying two distinct characters, the second being Rod, a Republican investment banker who looks and sounds like Bert on "Sesame Street" and is obviously attracted to guys yet denies being gay. His roommate, Nicky, is given full Ernie characterization by Nathan Danforth, including the distinctive voice and speech patterns that also closely follow—and mock—those of Kermit the Frog. Danforth wrings maximum laughs from his grumpy, horny, monosyllabic Trekkie Monster, who shuts himself away in his apartment surfing the Net for porn. Danforth and Teya Patt's rendering of the Bad Idea Bears rounds out the show's first-rate puppet cast, boosted by director of puppetry Christian Anderson.
The three human roles are in the same wacky vein. Camille Chen's shrewish, stereotypically Japanese Christmas Eve evokes big laughs, complemented by the work of Porter as her cheerful standup-comic fiancé, Brian. Angela Wildflower Polk's hyper-cheerful Gary Coleman mocks that actor's child-star success on TV and his struggles as an adult.
3-D Theatricals is to be congratulated for a screamingly funny account of this comically inspired show in its California regional premiere.
Presented by 3-D Theatricals at Plummer Auditorium, 201 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton. July 13–29. Thu.–Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (Additional performances Sun., July 22, 7 p.m.; Sat., July 28, 2 p.m.) (714) 589-2770 or www.3dtshows.com.