Sep 23, 2007

[Theater] Avenue Q

Avenue Q CastLast Saturday, my friends and I finally got to watch the local production of Avenue Q as staged by Atlantis Productions at the Carlo P. Romulo auditorium at the RCBC Plaza. We had waited for the last evening show of the run so (1) we'd be sure the actors would have practiced their roles well enough and (2) it would be timed close enough to Brian's birthday.

The short version of the story would have me saying that we enjoyed the show a lot and it certainly exceeded our expectations. Of course, this wouldn't be a very good review if things were as simple as that.

First off, the cast did a stellar job of trying to emulate the original voices - I can imagine the hours of practice and voice training just to recapture that original sound. Plus most of the actors played multiple roles, which of course meant multiple speaking and singing voices in order for the show to go well. In that regard, they did a top-notch job of preparing the group.

The actors were a pretty diverse and skilled group. I was very impressed with Felix Rivera did an amazing job as the lead character/puppet Princeton and and the closeted Republican investment banker Rod. The demands for his role were certainly physically draining given all the changes, and for the most part he managed all the shifts well. On an off tangent side note, his chest (or perhaps his pecs to be more specific) were pleasantly distracting and just watching him flex his arms with the puppets makes you wonder how much work he put into things before the show, haha.

Rachel Alejandro did a stellar job as both the demure Kate Monster and the sultry Lucy the Slut. She captured the voice pretty well and just watching her perform the song numbers had us all wondering how difficult that was considering she had to keep her voice modulated the entire time.

Special mention also has to go out to Joel Trinidad for his portrayal of Trekkie Monster, Nicky and the blue Bad Idea Bear. He also did a stellar job of recreating the original voices for the many characters he played and did so amazing well. It also helps that he's still quite the cutie, but that's another story entirely.

Frenchie Dy did a great job as Christmas Eve as well - no small feat given this was her first theater appearance. I also enjoyed the diversity of Teenee Chan, especially for her portrayal of the yellow Bad Idea Bear. The rest of the cast was okay, but nothing particularly amazing.

Overall the show was amazing - the production values were sterling and the cast was certainly well-rehearsed in terms of their roles from the lines, sequences of shifts to their blocking / puppetry. The show had a lot of fun moments ranging from all the amazing songs and even the funny side moments best highlighted by the TV set in the corner. I absolutely LOVED the Bad Idea Bears and find myself screaming, "Yay!" in a high-pitched voice until now. I've also developed an odd craving for Long Island Iced Teas, haha.

By the second half of the show, the actors were pretty rather tired as evidenced by the panting on the mikes sometimes and how their hold on their American accents would wane at random moments and their Filipino mannerisms would come to fore. Still, it wasn't enough to damage the integrity of the show and the entire theater experience.

This particular run of the show is over but given how successful this one was, I'm sure they're going to bring it back for a second run. I'd love to shell out cash to watch it again - it was that good, I swear! I feel bad for everyone who missed the show during this first run.

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