Put away those rubbers hoses; no need to introduce the bamboo shoots to the underside of my fingernails. You don’t need to attach those clamps to the “Pride of Ireland”, and for the mercy of God don’t force me to watch the Twilight movies! I confess it freely; I am a sucker for naughty puppets (probably stems from my days with Bob Baker Marionette Theater).
“Spitting Image”, Meet the Feebles, “Supercar”, “Mongrels”, hell, even Team America love them all. So I figured I would be a push over for the Doma Theatre Company’s production of “Avenue Q” now gallivanting on the stage at Hollywood’s MET Theatre. And what do you know, I was right.
The DOMA Company has undertaken to free the American musical from such gargantuan labyrinths as the Pantages and Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and place it in the laps of L.A. theatre audiences, and so far they’re succeeding with panache. They’re also to be commended for providing the city with a training arena for talented young musical stars of which I surely expect some to make names for themselves.
The show itself is like the forbidden love child of Big Bird and some Vegas lounge comic circa 1959. The show is nowhere near as delightfully vile as the suppurating slapstick of Meet the Feebles, but then again it was geared to evoke snickers, not gasps, from bus loads of heartland tourists routinely dumped for their first “theatrical experience” on New York’s Great White Way.
The show is “blue” with a sugar coating, but the chuckles still come fast and furiously with such merry tunes as “It Sucks to Be Me”, “I’m Not Wearing Underwear Today”, and “The Internet is For Porn”.
The challenge of the show is to find comic singers capable of mastering the fundamentals of puppetry, which results in making casting a great impediment to production. Fortunately DOMA is building itself a fine troupe of performers, so that hurdle was leapt over with gazelle like ease.
Chris Kauffmann, Janelle Dote, Libby Letlow, Danielle Judovits and Mark Whitten supply the talent served with the required schizophrenia to portray a host of nefarious characters, with Judovits as a particular standout as Kate Monster, the piece’s love interest.
Chris Kerrigan and Benai Boyd, who were highlights of the DOMA production of “Jekyll and Hyde” apply their ample chops to “Avenue Q” and the show is all the better for it. Boyd brings many laughs to the evening in her handling of the show’s most demanding role Gary Coleman. (Hey – you try playing a deceased focal segmental glomerulosclerosis-afflicted child actor of short stature!)
Director Richard Israel accounts himself well as do musical director Chris Raymond, and choreographer Angela Todaro who pool their talents into making “Avenue Q” both naughty and very, very nice.
Book by Jeff Whitty
Music and Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Directed by Richard Israel
Musical Direction by Chris Raymond
Choreography by Angela Todaro
Starring Benai Boyd, Janelle Dote, Danielle Judovits, Chris Kauffmann, Chris Kerrigan, Libby Letlow, Mark Whitten
Presented by DOMA Theatre Company
DOMA Theatre Co. @ The MET Theatre
1089 N. Oxford Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(323) 802-4990 or www.domatheatre.com
Fridays @ 8 pm: Nov 30; Dec 7, 14, 21; Jan. 4, 11, 18, 25; Feb. 1 (dark Dec. 28)
Saturdays @ 8 pm: Dec 1, 8, 15, 22; Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26; Feb. 2 (dark Dec. 29)
Sundays @ 3 pm: Dec 2, 9, 16, 23; Jan. 6, 13, 20, 27; Feb. 3 (dark Dec. 30)
Sundays @ 7:30 pm: Dec 2, 9 and 16 only
General Admission: $30
VIP: $34.99 (includes preferred seating plus one snack and one drink)
Seniors and students with ID: $20