Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   , ,

Raunchy, subversive, funny as all get-out, Avenue Q by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty is a gem of contemporary musical theatre, one that takes the iconic children’s television show Sesame Street and turns it on its head with sex, obscenities and the very realistic notions that life frequently sucks, that none of us is really all that special, and that while the dispossessed might band together they will, for the most part, remain dispossessed.

TotoToo takes all this and wraps it into one excellent production. An ensemble piece, the show nails pretty much everything from voices and puppetry to Aileen Szkwarek’s well-oiled choreography and the live musical accompaniment directed by John McGovern . Artistic director Michael Gareau keeps the show moving at the requisite smartly staged clip while inspiring all the performers to have so much fun that the audience is swept along by the same joyous spirit.

Of particular note among performers: the wonderfully expressive Pascal Viens (Rod) who is making his debut in musical theatre, Alianne Rozon whose Kate Monster is a lonely lady to whom we can all relate, and Andrew Galligan as Princeton, a character in search of self-authorship. 

The Kailish Mital Theatre’s sound system is lacking, and distortion at the show we attended occasionally made lyrics impossible to understand. It was a small price to pay for a crackerjack show.