The Toxic Avenger

Toxic Avenger
The Toxic Avenger at The Arts Theatre

How do you sum up The Toxic Avenger….well there are very few words that can do this crazy musical justice. The Toxic Avenger is based on the 1980’s superhero,comedy B movie of the same name.

In New Jersey the city is drowning in toxic waste and one unlikely hero, Melvin takes up the fight to save the city. The Mayor however soon sets a couple of heavies on him and he gets dumped in a VAT of toxic waste. He undertakes a transformation and becomes ‘The Toxic Avenger.’

Toxic AvengerWith the leading lady, Sarah, a blind librarian, the Mayor who rips her clothes off at any given opportunity and the hero of the story with boils weeping puss on his head, this show succeeds or fails on its humour. This humour needs to be over the top to work and boy was it. The script is witty and pokes fun at everything and everyone. The plot isn’t perfect but this didn’t matter one bit to me and in fact the shows own ability to poke fun at itself made it even funnier. The book worked well with the visual humour by director Benji Sperring. Small touches such as Sarah’s white cane turning into a dance cane come hurling towards the audience at every moment and the show is all the better for it. Is the plot perfect in this show

The show is made up of a cast of 5. Only Sarah, played by Emma Salvo and Toxie played by newcomer to the role Ben Irish remain in 1 role throughout. The rest of the cast play multiple roles with Natalie Hope playing both Mayor and Ma Ferd (Toxie’s mum) in one number in a Jekyll & Hyde ‘Confrontation’ style number as the culmination to Act 1. Che Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morrey and ‘Black Dude’ and ‘White Dude’ also deserve a mention as between them they play all of the other roles – from a Doctor, to the female hairdressers to the town bullies. Each of these roles were played with a huge amount of comedy and their own take on each one.  All of the cast are remarkably talented and their comedic ability can be left in no doubt after their performance.

Toxic AvengerFor a musical that I had never heard any of the songs before I enjoyed the music a lot. Even after the show I was still singing ‘Hot Toxic Love,’ one of the big numbers sung by Salvo and Irish. Each of the cast vocally suited their role with Salvo’s insane top register and Hope’s powerhouse performance.

This is quite possibly the most fun I have had at the theatre for a long while. Whilst not one for the overly political correct it is the perfect show to go to for a laugh out loud evening.

Find out more about Toxic Avengers and book tickets to see the show on their website.

If you liked this review you might also like my review of Cilla and The Ferryman.


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