Muppets on crack comedy on stage in Rocky this weekend
A PORN-addicted muppet, an unemployed stoner and a boy from the bush trying find his life purpose in the city.
These are just some of the characters in a production that could be described as muppets on crack or Sesame Street meets Pulp Fiction.
Avenue Q, brought to Central Queensland by the Brisbane Arts Theatre, is set to have Rockhampton audiences in stitches and wetting their pants for two nights this weekend.
While the comedy features puppets, it is not recommended for children to watch.
Venue: Pilbeam Theatre
Date: Saturday, June 17, Sunday, June 18
Cost: Adults $51.75, Pension, Tertiary, Junior 13-17yrs, Groups 10+ $48.75 each
Phone: 4927 4111
Adults thinking of attending should consider wearing adult nappies, and if asthmatic, bring a puffer.
The human performers of the production - Travis Hock, Lorraine Hanson and Joshua Bloomfield - explained the story line of the show as an array of human and puppet characters that try to help an orange puppet, Princeton, find his way in the big smoke - eg someone who grew up in Gracemere and moved to Sydney.
Travis, a plumber from Emu Park, plays a 32-year-old unemployed stoner named Brian who is married to a small Asian lady, Christmas Eve.
Lorraine, who originally hails from Oxford but has lived in Canada, Wales, Australia and Europe, is the handler of Lucy the Slut - a character she says "will make you feel really special for an hour or two” - and Mrs Thistletwat, who is 407 years old with a bad heart.
"We have Cookie Monster's estranged cousin, Trekkie Monster, who is a porn addict,” Josh said about one of the puppets he handles.
"Who rarely leaves his apartment... for obvious reasons,” Lorraine said.
"Nicky lives with his best friend Rod, and they kind of embody the Bert and Ernie dynamic,” Josh said.
"But they finally call Bert out as being gay,” Lorraine added.
There's also an element of Herman's Head - a 1990s TV comedy show - in this production as all of Princeton's bad ideas are personified by two cute lovable bears who are adorable but suggest homicidal things. These are appropriately named the Bad Idea Bears.
There are also racist references and references to loose women, reprehensible morals, alcoholism and drugs.
This is the first time Brisbane Arts Theatre has brought the production outside of south-east Queensland.
There will be two shows in Rockhampton and two shows in Mackay. This is the third season the theatre company has produced Avenue Q.
The puppets are insured for $20,000 and are constructed with metal and flexible frames to enable both strength and dancing.
Emu Park actor in muppet comedy
NEW dad Travis Hock, a long-time performer on Rockhampton stages, has grabbed at the opportunity to be in a semi-professional production in his home town.
Hock, 30, grew up at Emu Park and went to St Brendan's College before heading north to James Cook University in Townsville where he completed a Bachelor of Theatre and an internship with Tropic Sun.
In between semesters, he came back to CQ and completed an apprenticeship in plumbing.
He said his family had a plumbing business which allowed him to do the apprenticeship part-time.
"I did theatre as much as I could. I met my wife on stage with cabaret here in 2009,” Hock said.
"And then I was in pretty much every musical except for Chicago since.”
He spent six weeks in Brisbane rehearsing Avenue Q.
"It was full on,” he said.
Writer loves to play with puppets
SHE'S a published author of Memoirs of a Checkout Chick in Coles but performing is also in her blood.
Lorraine Hanson, 25, says she's always loved singing, dancing and acting.
And travelling the world when growing up would provide great scenes and characters to study.
Hanson was born in England in Oxford, moving to Brisbane when she was five, but her family still moved around the world, living in Canada, Wales and Europe mostly.
She has Bachelor of Creative Arts from the University of Queensland.
"Being in Avenue Q the previous times was just one of the most special experiences ever,” Hanson said.
" It's just the most fun, you get to go on stage and play with toys and make people wet themselves in hysterics.”
Science student takes break
HE ALWAYS thought he would be a performer.
Joshua Bloomfield, 23, said he'd done a bit of singing and had been in bands and had also acted in both musical and non-musical theatre.
But after doing a two-year internship with a theatre company, Bloomfield found his nose in science textbooks more often than not. So he is now working on a biochemical molecular science degree as well as psychology and sociology.
Right now, he's taking a break from the intense study to have a bit of fun with puppets.
He had previously performed in Avenue Q in 2014.
"They asked me to come back and it being such a brilliant show and such a wonderful opportunity, I thought 'why the hell not?'” he said.
"Plus, I needed a break.”