So what's all the hype about? Nudity, Politically Incorrect Talk, Onstage Sex? True, but they're the product of puppets! Not that humans are beside the point; they're beside the puppet characters as their handlers. And they're all on an NYC block---Q--- of joined multilevel apartment houses supervised by a stand-alone person, amusing Ariel Blue as Gary Coleman . He's off the tube and into reality, conducting the (ahem) affairs of tenants and visitors. Into the Avenue of high hopes but also high tensions comes Princeton (impressive singing and interpreting Berry Ayers, and for a few times Evan Glantz). As a new grad, he tries to find out "What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?" He decides to pursue "Purpose" after denizens of Q each declares "It Sucks to Be Me." Why? Because they're dealing with problems involving money and sustenance, work and homelessness, sex and sexual identity. And those puppets don't suppress their opinions a bit. "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist," all sing. Some even countenance that "The Internet Is for Porn" and "You Can Be As Loud As the Hell You Want (When You're Making Love)."
Sometimes the actors' challenges spill over to the audience so you must be alert to the actions of the puppets and the vocals of handlers, who aren't always the same. For example, of the super-pro singing and acting Dawsons, Steve as outspoken but nice Nicky is also Trekkie Monster and wife Dianne doubles as Lucy the Slut and Kate Monster. (To add to his artistic laurels, Steve Dawson also created, with talented David Walker, the Q puppets.) Versatile Alex Torres triples as right hand Nicky/Trekkie, a Bad Idea Bear, and Mrs. T., while Mary Burns is a puppet wrangler who keeps ready as an understudy. Playing a realistic biracial couple, Jenn Abreu (who charms but sometimes confuses volume with enunciation) plays the Asian-American Christmas Eve in love with energetic Erik Emmerson's comical ("I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today") Brian. Blue-faced, closeted Rod is persuasively perplexed via Evan Glantz. In his primary role as Princeton, Berry Ayers would be in danger of prompting "Schadenfreude" should his onstage colleagues not be as strong as they are.
Director Kyle Ennis Turoff's choreographic efforts keep all in motion and out of confusion. The fine ensemble vocals evidence her ability to cast and group singers to get needed harmony. Musical Director Don Sturrock, though unseen, has a creditable presence. Michael Newton-Brown's colorful set, David Walker's costumes, and Brad Pattison's lighting are on the mark. Production Stage Manager is Ryan Fitts. As for the hype, the show doesn't need it. True, it's crude, but also cute. Vulgar, yes, but vivacious. Raunchy, yet realistic.
Not recommended for kids. You teens and adults should
enjoy all two and a half hours.