Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lessons of Felt and Fur

It’s depressing that a puppet would know more about life than me.

Tonight I went and saw the puppet-musical Avenue Q in London’s West End (god, I sound pretentious just saying that!). It’s a show I’ve been wanting to see since somebody gave me the soundtrack several years ago, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I went with a friend of mine, who took a lot of convincing to go…

“so it’s a show, about puppets?”
“hmm… no – it’s a show about life. With puppets.”
“I don’t know”
“Go on.”

So we rushed to the theatre and bought tickets three minutes before the curtains opened, and rushed to our seats before the curtains opened. Only my friend was nowhere to be seen.

She had decided, wisely, to go to the bathroom before the show started, and arrived just as the show started, and decided not to be the one who makes everyone move just as the show is starting, so she sat down where she could – well away from me. I’m no stranger to girls sitting well away from me, but naturally I was concerned, and it was only 10 minutes into the show that I saw where she was; but at least I knew that she hadn’t had an aneurism and died while in the ladies, so it was with some relief that I sat back and enjoyed the show.

It’s a brilliant show – based on one man-puppet’s search for a meaning to life, mainly through song. It would be easy for a show like this to just focus on the cheesiness of puppetry and to exploit the cheap sense of humour that usually accompanies them. But it’s actually quite a sweet show with the basic moral that life is what it is, and that it’s okay if you don’t know what to do with your life, because not many people do. Seeing the show was really useful, as the songs all now make much more sense with several significant plot gaps now sufficiently filled.

I really like the way the puppeteers worked with the puppets – it wasn’t a Muppet/Sesame Street puppet show where you can’t see the puppeteers. In Avenue Q the puppeteers are as much a part of the show as the puppets; the expressions and nuances that the actors undertake during the performance actually add a great deal of weight to the emotions that are endowed on the puppets, making them seem all the more human. I left feeling good about life, love, and my trip – anything that happens, happens; and that’s okay.


1 comment:

  1. I love puppet shows, even when I'm the puppet.