Globe columnist Peter Grant meets Puppeteer Nigel Plaskitt of the smash hit show Avenue Q which arrives in New Brighton on Monday.

HE may have seen the show 300 times but puppet coach Nigel Praskitt says he loves every production of the unique Avenue Q.

I first saw it three years ago at the Liverpool Empire - it is a funny, realistic five-star comedy show that raises a few eyebrows but also plenty of laughter.

It looks at sex, homelessness, pornography and racism.

Award-winning songs and top-class choreography help make this look at life through puppets and actors an accomplished piece of entertainment.

Now it is Wirral bound.

I was unprepared for this laugh-out-loud theatrical experience that has stunned audiences on Broadway, the West End and across UK venues.

It is cheeky, naughty and also moving. Imagine Sesame Street for grown-ups.

Avenue Q, with its very own puppet sex scenes, is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

It tells the tale of loveable and unforgettable characters such as The Bad Ideas Bears, Trekkie Monster and our hero, a college graduate Princeton on a run-down New York Street.

They are all trying to make sense of a demanding world. They look at their own life plans from relationships ton such issues as 'what is the purpose of the Internet?'

It has mischief and political incorrectness and, in the process, is musical streets ahead of other shows.

Avenue Q has to be seen and heard says Nigel Plaskitt, an actor, puppeteer, producer, stage and television director.

His voice and puppetry talents have appeared on global hits including Spitting Image and Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet and The Muppets.

Nigel is looking forward to returning to Merseyside.

He is already familiar with Liverpool and a famous TV soap.

Nigel, in a break from rehearsals in Watford, told the Globe: "I spent time in the 80s helping Phil Redmond set up Brookside. I enjoyed my time there making sure the houses on the Close were ready.

"Phil I and I became friends."

Since then Nigel has made even more friends with his hugely successful varied career.

He was the voice of a troll in the first Harry Potter film.

And he is clearly enjoying the world wide success of Avenue Q.

Although best described as a comedy with attitude for adults he says if has a broader appeal.

"A lot of teenagers come and see it. The writing is so good - it really is exceptional.

"Audiences see lifeless puppets brought to life and then hear what they actually have to say.

"I know of many people who come and see it time after time.

Avenue Q is R Rated because of its adult topics, offensive language and puppet sex.

There is also a cleaned up version of the script for performance in schools.

also have a cleaved up version fur schools

It has been touring for 13 years on and off and Nigel says if enjoys the same type of popularity as The Rocky Horror Show.

He says audiences watch the puppets and not the actors beside them.

"Our puppets are fluffy and have big eyes people just don't expect to hear

what they say ... and what they do.

"It has such wide appeal because it is about human relationships which don't change."

Nigel believes those who are not familiar with Avenue Q's will be pleasantly surprised and for those who have seen it before he says, with a master puppeteer's pride,"it will be like old friends dropping in."

Avenue Q is at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton from Monday, April 8 until Saturday, April 13

Note: R Rating

Tickets from 0151 666 0000