What do Simon Lipkin, Jon Robyns and Giles Terera have in common (other than clearly being great friends)? They’ve all been in the hit show Avenue Q. After ten years, they decided to get together for one night, along with MD and brilliant pianist, Alex Williams, to put on a night of “music, banter and comedy” – and what a night it was!
The event began with the three lamenting on the ones that got away…those parts they’d auditioned for and didn’t get – a really funny number, ‘Not In The Show’.
Giles Terera performed ‘Pure Imagination’. This song was part of a musical that he starred in last year called Pure Imagination, celebrating the music of Leslie Bricusse. After this, he performed ‘Mr Bojangles’ which was just superb. His version of ‘Send in the Clowns’ was deliciously camp, and we loved the duet with Lipkin of ‘Me and My Shadow’.
Jon Robyns gave an epic performance of ‘Music of My Soul’ from Memphis, which sadly closed at the Shaftesbury Theatre last October (but is going to do a UK tour), and another from Last Five Years called ‘Shiksa Goddess’.
Simon Lipkin took to the piano and started a set with the fantastic ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ from Rock of Ages, which turned into a hilariously brilliant mash-up of popular songs which can evidently be played on three chords, including ‘Apologise’, ‘If You Wannabe My Lover’, and ‘Baby Got Back’. He also performed a song from A New Brain called ‘Sailing’, as well as a song he sang to his girlfriend in the audience, ‘The Sensitive Song’, which starts tenderly but spirals to a hilarious chorus line of “Skanky, Skanky Whore”. She appeared to take it in good spirits certainly – although we understand she is off on a UK tour as Sophie in Mamma Mia shortly!
The Avenue Q numbers were very funny and the four puppets were endearing little fellows, brilliantly handled by Lipkin and Robyns. The ‘If You Were Gay’ number with Nicky (puppeteer Lipkin) and Rod (puppeteer Robyns) was hilarious.
Teresa attempted a “serious moment” with a passage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but was constantly interrupted by Lipkin, who was looking for the WiFi code and then the loo, and, as Teresa struggled valiantly on, we heard that Lipkin had indeed found the loo, and the audience was in uproar by the time both Lipkin and Robyns re-joined him on stage.
There were many other fantastic moments – solos, duos, trios, with and without puppets, with piano, guitars, tambourine, as well as the odd feather boa and even some tap-dancing. A standout number was their rendition of ‘Jailhouse Rock’, where one played piano, one sang, and one was on tambourine, but they then had to quickly switch roles when a participating audience member honked a horn – it was a hysterical scramble. ‘Hasa dega Eebowai’ from the Book of Mormon, which Terera had starred in, was another standout for the trio, during which numerous unsuspecting audience members were pulled on-stage to do a conga!
This event was held at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. All three men are wonderfully talented singers, who interact with and play off their audience beautifully, and they were clearly having loads of fun – we did too, and really hope they do another one of these soon!