IT has been a Broadway and a West End hit and has won three Tony Awards but now the Avenue Q phenomenon is coming to Cheshire.

A Warrington family are part Zodiac’s production of the smash musical which has been described as The Muppets meets South Park.

The story follows Princeton who comes to New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account but finds there is more to his neighbourhood than meets the eye.

Avenue Q deals with adult issues like race and sexuality but in a quirky Sesame Street-style with puppets and humans living side-by-side.

Couple Andy and Kirsten Dunn, from Bewsey, and Andy's sister, Sarah Dunn, from Stockton Heath, have been rehearsing since they got the parts in October.

Sarah, who plays ‘Lucy the Slut’, said: “Anyone who isn’t really into the theatre will love this show because it caters for everyone.

“It’s got comedy, singing and it’s got a little bit of naughtiness in it so it’s just a cheeky, fun night out.”

Zodiac was handpicked as one of the first amateur operatic societies in the north west to take on the musical at the Brindley in Runcorn.

The group even borrowed puppets from Bridgewater High School to practice before the official rod and hand puppets arrived.

Sarah and her fiancé Tom first watched Avenue Q when she was pregnant with Jenson.

The 32-year-old now practices her lines in front of the one-year-old.

Sarah, a Kylie tribute artist, said: “They’ve come to love the puppets now. At first they were a little bit scared.

“But now my little boy Jenson actually flirts with Lucy!”

Kirsten plays Christmas Eve, a therapist with no clients, while her husband Andy plays camp but conservative Rod.

The 29-year-old added: “Our daughter Jasmine gets babysat by uncle Rod sometimes. The puppets are part of the family now.”

Andy, who works at Padgate Sun Centre with his sister Sarah, has even found that playing Rod has slipped into his work life.

The 34-year-old said: “My wife keeps telling me I’m getting a little bit more camp as it gets closer to the show.

“I do notice it when I’m at work that a little inflection will go out in my voice.”

The cast of 30 have also had to work tirelessly to learn puppetry skills from scratch.

Director Neil Silcock, a former Warrington policeman, added: “From a director’s point of view, I know that I’m happy with the puppetry when I stop watching the actors and just look at the puppets.

“They seem to disappear then and the puppets come to life.”

Sarah and her fiancé Tom first watched Avenue Q when she was pregnant with Jenson.

For Andy and Kirsten, it was the first show they went to together.

Andy, who first practiced his scenes with toy dinosaurs, said: “We weren’t really expecting what we saw.

“We were in hysterics from the first moment to the closing minute. Every character is so well written.”

Zodiac Amateur Operatic Society was formed in 1968 and has been nominated for four awards at the National Operatic Drama Association for last year’s performance of Me and My Girl.

- Avenue Q is at the Brindley in Runcorn from April 1 to 5. Call the box office on 0151 9078360.