The disarmingly cross-eyed puppets of “Avenue Q” may have taken up a more modest residence than in touring productions past, but they’re still thoroughly engaging in DOMA Theatre Company’s accomplished local revival, which remains faithful to the spirit of the 2004 Tony-winning musical in every way that counts.
A few compromises in budget and stage space notwithstanding, Richard Israel’s savvy direction honors without embellishment the big furry heart of creators Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s satirical adult spin on our collective “Sesame Street”-infused sensibilities. Here, cute puppets provide seemingly inoffensive cover for teaching edgy and downright raunchy life lessons about racism, sex, poverty and other social afflictions way outside the politically correct borders of the Sesame Workshop.
Israel’s foremost fidelity to the original Broadway production is in using the original “Avenue Q” puppet designs by “Sesame Street” alum Rick Lyon, manned and voiced by fully visible live actors who radiate youthful vitality and passion.
If anything, the 99-seat MET Theatre affords a greater opportunity to appreciate the nuanced emotions these fuzzy creations can convey, particularly in the skilled puppeteering hands of Chris Kauffmann (doubling in the lead roles of naive college grad Princeton and closeted investment banker Rod), with Mark Whitten and Libby Letlow animating various supporting characters.