Avenue Q, the hit musical currently on its second UK tour in as many years, spent last week wowing crowds at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre.
Although some have suggested treating my addiction to the show with electric shock therapy or some kind of counselling, I decided it would be a far better use of my time to listen to cast member Chris Thatcher’s hilarious new album Jesus CHRIS Superstar and catch up with lead actor Katharine Moraz who plays the characters of Kate Monster and Lucy the Slut…
DT: What is the message of Avenue Q for you after two tours with the show?
KM: The outstanding message for me is still the final lesson in the show. That everything is only for now. Whether that’s things within the show – the audience, the cast and company that travel around together and the show as a whole or things outside the show in your life. The good and the bad still come and go and it’s comforting to know that if you’re having a bad time it won’t last forever.
DT: Are you surprised by the show’s continued popularity?
KM: To be honest not really – it’s a testament to how well the show was written and created that the audience keep coming back and keep laughing at the show. Over the years the show has grown and moved with the times – we keep making little changes to keep the show current. It’s hard to believe that the show is almost a decade old but actually the themes and issues in the show are still as relevant as ever. And of course everyone still can’t get enough of the rude bits!
DT: What do you feel that you have brought to the role of Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut which audiences perhaps haven’t seen before?
KM: In the show every actor has to bring themselves and their spin on the role they’re playing. But the characters are still the same and so you have to just tell the story and be the character and naturally everyone’s interpretation of that will be different.
DT: Is there one role which you prefer over the other?
KM: I can’t choose, I love them both. Kate Monster is more like me – she probably is for every young girl! It’s nice to go through her story and have the ups with the downs. Lucy is just so different to me – I get butterflies every time I’m about to sing ‘Special’ but then you just get to revel in being someone completely different for a few minutes and when it’s over I feel so relieved and it gives me a weird sense of achievement!
DT: What’s your favourite moment of the show?
KM: I’ve always loved ‘Schadenfreude’ – it’s such a brilliant song and Chris, Matt and Daniella who play Nicky and Gary have such a blast doing that number. I certainly loved doing it on the last tour! [On last year’s tour, Katharine played the role of Mrs Thistletwat, Yellow Bear and others] But from this tour I really enjoy singing the duet part of ‘Fantasies Come True’ – it’s one of Kate’s truly happy moments so you just get to let rip and I love singing with Sam who plays Princeton and Rod.
DT: You’ve obviously gained a lot of fans over the course of your time in Avenue Q. What can they expect from you after the current tour finishes?
KM: Who knows?!! I’m doing some Shakespeare in September which will be a lovely change. I also do a fair bit of writing and I work with two other guys on writing and arranging music. We did a gig together in November last year so I’m hoping to do more of that. I love the variety that you get from being an actor. One minute you can be in a big, cult show like Avenue Q and the next you can be doing a new play above a pub in London somewhere. I always like to do something that challenges me and that’s creative.
DT: I’ve noticed the cast sometimes post overheard audience gems on Twitter. Do you have a favourite funny anecdote about your time in the show?
KM: There’s so many! Sometimes the audience finish the lyrics before you’ve sung them or you can hear people talking like they’re watching TV. I think they forget that we’re only 2 feet away! And I always laugh when children are in – the parents obviously haven’t read what the show is about, saw puppets and assumed it’s for kids. It just makes me feel awkward but then I just have to do the show as normal and hope the children aren’t too disturbed. We once had a little girl in who had no idea what the show was about (thank god!) and was dancing in the aisle in [Lucy the Slut’s star number] ‘Special’ – that was a good day!
Avenue Q‘s UK tour will continue this week in Leeds before moving on to Dunstable where it will close on Saturday 28th July.