SURREY â€” If you were ever a fan of the childrenâ€™s puppet-based TV show Sesame Street, then you might recognize a few familiar faces hitting the stage at the Surrey Arts Centre next week.
Puppets that may look a lot like the ones that taught you how to count and spell could be teaching their audience some new life lessons in an upcoming production of Avenue Q â€” an adult Broadway musical thatâ€™s â€œpart felt, part fleshâ€ starring familiar childhood puppets.
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The story follows Kate Monster, a charming girl-next-door-esque puppet looking for love, and Princeton the Puppet, a confused English major looking for a purpose in life, both of whom have recently moved to Avenue Q.
â€œ(Kate)â€™s basically the girl next door. Sheâ€™s a kindergarten teaching assistant and she doesnâ€™t have a lot of luck with guys, so I feel like sheâ€™s always searching for a nice guy to settle down with,â€ said Kayla Dunbar, an ex-Surreyite who plays Kate Monster. Dunbar was part of Avenue Qâ€™s original cast when it first made its Arts Club debut.
Her co-star, Jeremy Crittenden, plays her opposite as Princeton.
â€œ(Princeton) just graduated from college with a BA in English, and heâ€™s not exactly sure what thatâ€™s going to be good for in life so heâ€™s moved to Avenue Q looking to find his purpose,â€ Crittenden told the Now.
By some star-crossed puppetry, Kate and Princeton meet and perhaps even share a felt-on-felt romp unlike anything youâ€™ve ever watched on PBS. But, as much as Avenue Q teases at its out-of-this-world hilarity, the stars maintain that the play will hit close to home for many of its real-life viewers.
â€œOther than Lucy T. Slut (another hyper-sexualized puppet in the production), the characters are kind of based in reality, so they really are quite normal people and normal monsters,â€ Dunbar asserted.
â€œYou know, theyâ€™re looking to fall in love, theyâ€™re looking to have success in their life, and they stumble along the way just like we do, which really makes the show about real life. Itâ€™s quite honest,â€ she said.
Co-star Crittenden agrees that, although the show is chock-full of penis jokes and puppetry, Avenue Q is rooted in reality.
â€œI think thatâ€™s really part of the charm of the show, that if you grew up watching Sesame Street, itâ€™s instantly recognizable to you whatâ€™s going on. That sort of world where humans that talk to other monsters all coexist together, and also everything is formed into the little lessons for you. Only, in Avenue Q itâ€™s not about spelling and counting; itâ€™s about racism and one-night stands,â€ he said with a laugh.
As part of the Arts Club Theatre On Tour, Avenue Q will be stopping at the Surrey Arts Centre from Oct. 15 to 25 for an un-kid-friendly production with familiar childhood puppets who deal with real-life human situations, like masturbation and losing your job.
Avenue Q in Surrey kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. with a special reception. Tickets start at $29, to purchase call 604-501-5566 or visit Tickets.surrey.ca.