The last time that Avenue Q came to Singapore, some of us were probably too young to attend. Thankfully, the Broadway musical that clinched several Tony Awards has made its way back, this time with some newcomers added to the Filipino cast.

Noel Rayos, a new addition to the cast who plays bright-eyed, fresh-out-of-college Princeton, shared about the preparation leading up to the show. For the first few sessions, every cast member had to undergo intensive puppet training to learn to handle puppets properly.

“Trainings were about six weeks long, and about six hours every day,” said Noel. Speaking about his role as Princeton, Noel added, “We’re similar such that we’re both very thoughtful and sensitive, and feel very deeply, but different only because I’m a little older than Princeton.”

With that, he quipped, “Enjoy these years [of youth] because they’re the best time of your life!”

Noel Rayos with one of his two puppets, Princeton

Essentially, that’s what Avenue Q is all about, exploring (or perhaps revisiting for some?) adult issues in a very child-like manner. One moment a young mind and the next, there are so many serious decisions to be made.

Perhaps that’s why it’s rated for 16 and above, other than explicit content and puppet nudity as they have proudly marketed it to have, because what do youngsters know about love and heartbreaks (okay maybe they do), the use of education (“What Do You Do with a BA In English?”), struggling to find a stable job that pays well, and struggling to pay rent?

MediaCorp actress Jeanette Aw was at the show, and commented, “[Avenue Q was] very interesting, and [it was] refreshing to see puppets address very adult issues in a child-like way, and the whole show was just very entertaining.”

Avenue Q, despite it being set in the United States of America, you’ll probably find that the issues brought up in the show aren’t very different from what we have here in Singapore.

As the Director (Chari Arespacochaga) puts it, “This musical is about finding yourself as you grow up over time, and shows all these first times that everyone can relate to.”

Rachel Alejandro plays two roles, Lucy the Slut and Kate Monster

With Noel (Princeton & Rod) and Rachel Alejandro (Kate & Lucy the Slut) as the main cast, Avenue Q was an enjoyable journey that took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster with lots of laughter and some moments of sadness.

It is amazing how some of the cast juggled two roles that differed so much from each other. For example, Rachel was innocent Kate and sultry Lucy, while Noel took on the roles of bright-eyed Princeton and nasal, sulky Rod.

Rachel’s bright voice is also something different from the original cast – it adds an extra tinge of sadness to “There’s A Fine, Fine Line”, a slow number in the show compared to the other fast beats like “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist”.

The cast of this run of Avenue Q truly brought a spectacular show to Singapore

The supporting cast that consisted of Christmas Eve (Anna Fegi), Gary Coleman (Oj Mariano), Trekkie/Nicky (Bibo Reyes), Brian (Jamie Wilson) and Mrs Thistletwat (Pheona Baranda) were also equally good, taking turns to be in the limelight for different scenes.

Local celebrity Nat Ho summarised the whole show adequately. He said, “I love it! Avenue Q was fun, cheeky and generally very honest. People usually say the truth hurts, but actually, the truth is just uncomfortable to hear. With the puppets, they get away with saying a lot of things.”

Avenue Q also constantly prompts you throughout the show to find your purpose, so there is still a lesson to be learnt from it. In short, this musical leaves you on such a high that when it all ends, you can’t bear to leave the theatre. You still want more.

What is YOUR purpose in life?

If you’re going for Avenue Q, you’re really in for a treat. If not, go get your tickets or else… “It Sucks To Be You”!

Avenue Q is showing at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre, from now till Sunday 7 Oct 2012. Tickets start from $55 (excluding booking fees).

All photos courtesy of Base Entertainment Asia and Asyraf Rasid (Klix Photography).