Well it's third time unlucky I guess, and after two previous "final performances" Avenue Q
ended its four-and-a-half year West End run tonight, and once again I was there, as was Evil Alex, who's been at both the previous ones with me; Richard, who joined us at the last Gielgud show; and Vanessa who was there at the first "last" night with us, plus her 12-year-old daughter, whose second trip to the avenue this was. So my grand total of visits comes to eleven. If that sounds extreme, you have no idea: Evil Alex, here pictured with his ultimate role models in life,
has convinced his partner to take him to New York later this year, where a trip to the version currently showing off-Broadway is on the cards; and when the show tours the UK next year he's highly likely to stalk it.
We all had a great time of course, but this being the same cast as we saw back in March
I won't go into details. Instead I'll mention all the little extras that were added for this final show:
- Before curtain up, an announcement (it sounded like Siôn Lloyd's voice) welcoming us to the Noël Coward... sorry the Gielgud... sorry Wyndhams Theatre.
- I'd heard rumours that during the preview period, at the end of the interval there was a little film shown on the TV screens, but it was removed before opening night. I'd never actually seen this before but it got reinstated for tonight: The screens suddenly cut to what apppears to be security camera footage of the men's bathrooms. A man is queueing outside the only cubicle, and as the "security footage" turns from b&w into colour and becomes a little sketch, there's an announcement for people to take their seats for the second act. The man becomes impatient and starts banging on the door, we cut to inside where Nicky is sitting on the toilet and doing a crossword, and there's an entire extra song about how nice it is to just take your time. Outside the cubicle there's a line building up, and as an extra little gag the last man in the queue is Matt Lucas, who goes off in a huff. (For pacing reasons it was probably right to cut this, but at the last performance to an audience of fans it made for a great bonus.)
- At the bows, Paul Spicer and Tom Parsons finally managed to quieten the audience enough to do a little thank you speech. As at the final night at the Noël Coward there was actually a new little skit written for this between Rod and Nicky. They introduced the director and two of the writers, who'd come over specially and also made speeches.
- Another little skit to suggest an audience singalong, but where has Princeton got to? Cue Jon Robyns, the original West End Princeton, who then had a little scene with Spicer's Rod, who flirted with Robyns ("I remember those hands!") The cast start an audience singalong of "The Internet Is For Porn" but Trekkie Monster freaks out and has to stop. Enter the original Trekkie, Simon Lipkin, with one of the other Trekkie puppets, which introduces itself as Tricky Monster ("It's the best we could come up with on short notice.") And finally the singalong was completed, before the curtain went down very, very slowly, with the puppets down to the floor waving until the very end.
Not exactly planned, but another notable moment: It's not the first time I've seen them have trouble unfurling the banner that says "Monstersori School" but this time one of the strings was so caught that Siôn Lloyd ended up flat on his back after jumping up to try and fix it (fortunately he didn't appear to be hurt.)
And four years on from me raving about this to anyone who'd listen, that, I'm afraid, is that! Except to say that Evil Alex cheered when Lucy the Slut flatlined. Vanessa thought that was a bit mean of him, to which I can only say I've been telling you he's evil for years, it's not my fault if you don't listen.