About a month ago my friend Judy was in town. We ended up getting half price tickets to Avenue Q here at the Noel Coward. I had heard the cast album and was encouraged to see it by one of my workmates but I was still a little wary -- it seemed a little too quirky for me. But it's hard to dislike, it's so cheerful and good-natured. I was surprised that it's been transplated to London with all its Americanisms intact -- including the Gary Coleman character -- though unlike Broadway, he's now played by a man. I wondered what Gary must think of this, because they're pretty mean to him. A little search on the net proved what I suspected -- he's not happy but he can't find any lawyer to sue -- no doubt because it's considered satire. Still, people seem to sue for much less all the time.
The Noel Coward, like seemingly every other theatre in London, did not start out as such. It was originally the New Theatre. I seem to recall that the last time I lived in London in 1989-1991 Blood Brothers had just started its run here (when it was the Albery). Blood Brothers, by the way, has entered its twentieth year, though it is currently at the Phoenix, which I'll get to later. The structure itself is a typical London theatre and has such a tiny men's room at the back of the stalls it's barely big enough to turn around in. Since being rechristened in Noel's honor, Avenue Q is the only production to have played here thus far. I can imagine his ghost being very perplexed should he wander in some dark, damp night.