Alexandra Martinez Journal Staff
Over the weekend Suffolk’s Performing Arts Office (PAO) presented Avenue Q a coming of age tale that uses Jim Henson-style puppets in order to tell the story of Princeton, a recent college grad trying to make it in New York City. Though the musical is told with similar style puppets, it does not follow the themes of the beloved Sesame Street. Avenue Q takes more of a raunchy side in this musical adventure that tackles everything from being gay to sex and the ability to be as loud as you want when doing so.
The PAO managed to bring this musical to life, requing more than just acting and singing skills, but the ability to use puppets and act through them. The cast did a wonderful job, not only their singing but their voice acting as well. Though the cast did a wonderful job, Delton Hulbert and Jess Ialacci, who played Trekkie Monster, and Joey Graham who played Rod, were the standouts of the night. They voiced and maneuvered their puppets in a way that helped the audience suspend that reality the way it was meant in this play, and made you forget that they were puppets attached to people. Though Trekkie Monster required puppeteers, it was all Hulbert and his voice work that carried the character, and Ialacci’s movements that helped bring him to life. While Graham brought a sense of life to Nicky that went past just to his work with the puppet but how he carried himself as the puppeteer.
Both Dan Lampariello and Jillian Couillard should not only be commended for their acting, but singing and puppeteering as well. Lampariello, who played Princeton, was a stand-out with his opening of “What Do You Do With A B.A. English?/It Sucks To Be Me” which set the scene of the rest of the show. While Couillard, who played Kate Monster, brought real personality to the character and evoked real feeling in “There’s a Fine, Fine Line,” had you feeling sorry for a set of star-crossed puppet lovers.
Graham, as Nicky, brought the audience a great conflicted character that impressed with his rendition of “My Girlfriend Lives in Canada” which had the audience in stitches. The same way that Hulbert and Couillard had to pause during “The Internet is for Porn” in order for the audience to regain their composure, after they delivered a hilarious rendition of the song. Finally Mariah Giovannucci gave a great and sultry performance as Lucy the Slut which she not only carried through in her puppet work but also in her movement and singing. All of the puppet work proved to not only be excellent in the movement of the puppets but in how the puppeteers carried themselves, not only in voice but in facial expressions. Each song and scene was followed by not only clapping from the audience, but also loud laughs and just a fun atmosphere.
Not only did the leads carry themselves well and made the show entertaining the rest of the cast proved to be just as strong not only in their singing but their acting as well. From the two bad idea bears played by Elizabeth Alden and Zoe Wells, who caused nothing but havoc to Arissara Chounchaisit who played the sassy and funny Christmas Eve the whole cast worked so well with each other they brought together the whole neighborhood of Avenue Q and made you feel as if you were with old friends.
The whole show was not only funny but it was also over the top in the best way possible and each cast member brought something amazing to the table. From the strong puppet work to the singing. PAO’s presentation of Avenue Q was well done and proved that not only the cast but the crew worked hard in order to put on the amazing musical. That delivered not only raunchy songs, but wonderful laughs and just a good time for all who got to experience this weekend’s performances.