Interview: puppet coach Nigel Plaskitt on the UK touring run of international megahit Avenue Q
Puppets can 'make statements about subjects like racism and sexuality that are harder if you’re an actor'
Tony-winning international megahit Avenue Q arrives in Edinburgh with a huge reputation on its shoulders, not just for the awards it’s gathered and the Broadway and West End runs it’s accrued, but for the way book writer Jeff Whitty and composers Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx have ingeniously invigorated one genre by inverting it into another. Riffing in entirely unofficial fashion upon the characters and tropes which many of us will recognise from having watched US kids’ show Sesame Street in our youths, this sharp puppet-based comedy musical imagines a similar cast all grown up and dealing with adult themes in a world of cynical realism.
‘It’s the use of puppets for an adult audience that makes the show special,’ says Nigel Plaskitt, puppet coach on this production, whose previous credits include Spitting Image, Doctor Who, Muppet Treasure Island and Gorillaz’ live show. ‘They’re able to make statements about subjects like racism and sexuality that are harder if you’re an actor. I’ve seen it performed without puppets as a run-through and it really doesn’t work so well, because I think we all have associations with characters very similar to these that we take with us into the show.’
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, Tue 10–Sat 14 Jun.