The Toxic Avenger, Arts Theatre | Review

The Toxic Avenger | Essential Twenty

Look at me with two play reviews in a row. Let’s pretend it’s nothing to do with the fact that I’m rubbish at posting at the moment (does not bode well for blogmas which starts in just TWO DAYS – panic mode is setting in). On Saturday I was in London for a whopping 13 hours and I spent Sunday recovering. Definitely shouldn’t have been out in the winter weather all day with a mammoth cold which has turned into time off work. Now I rarely take a trip to the capital without a theatre tip thrown in, and that was the case this weekend too. This time, The Toxic Avenger.

Now I know nothing about the cult film and honestly just thought this was Hulk: The Musical when I saw it advertised back in the summer at the Edinburgh Fringe. Jack and I thought this was something we’d both enjoy but we just didn’t have the time to see it when we were in Edinburgh, and I completely missed it during its Southwark Playhouse run. After a bit more research I realised I was completely wrong, but it sounded like an interesting watch that I had to snap up the chance to see.

Based on the 1984 cult film of the same name, nerdy Melvin Ferd III wants to clean up his little New Jersey town. He’s in love with the town’s blind librarian, but she doesn’t feel the same…until he falls into a vat of toxic goo and is slightly deformed. This deformity includes muscle growth which she is definitely approved of. Toxie must defeat the evil polluting the town without being caught and killed. Easier said than done, even for a monster with superhuman strength.

The Toxic Avenger | Essential Twenty

I didn’t come out singing the songs, but the lyrics hilarious and the songs were sung brilliantly. The songs in the show don’t progress the plot very much, but more form a musical interlude between the scenes, but for a change, this actually worked.

The main thing that I struggle with when it comes to comedy, especially in a show like The Toxic Avenger, is knowing when parts are scripted and when things are going wrong. This was something I found in this show but it still flowed fairly well, and if it was improvised, it was done wonderfully.

My personal favourite part of the entire production was watching the 5 piece band who played a pivotal role in breaking the fourth wall throughout the musical. And ‘White Dude’ gets a cracking reception with pretty much every character he plays. In fact, all the roles get a wonderful reception.

Okay, it’s a bizarre premise for a musical and I’m not sure it would work as a long running show. But as a limited run at The Arts Theatre, The Toxic Avenger was a wonderful watch. You’ve only got until Sunday to get your bums down to Leicester Square to laugh your socks off; be quick!

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