The Toxic Avenger at the Arts Theatre
A show apt to intoxicate with laughs and stirring music has just landed in Central London. First written as a film in 1984 by Lloyd Kaufman, the comedy horror premiered as a musical in 2008, opening the first Europe production in London only last year. After the sold-out run at Southwark Playhouse, The Toxic Avenger: The musical moves to the Arts Theatre, rocking the West End until December.
Determined to save the highly polluted Tromaville, Melvin Ferd the Third (Mark Anderson) gets in trouble with the evil Mayor of the city (Natalie Hope). Thrown into toxic slime, the nerd boy is transformed into a horrible creature – half Hulk, half Frankenstein’s monster – green and strong. Thanks to the blind love of Sarah (Emma Salvo), Toxie becomes the superhero Tromaville was waiting for. But the villain is on the hunt, and the Avenger is not accepted anymore by the girl of his dreams. Refused and unwanted, he is in danger of being bleached. Will the cruel Mayor destroy the monster or will Toxie finally make America green again?
The musical is as absurd and mad as it is good. Starting with a real bang, the show immediately has the audience completely immersed in the smelly and crazy setting in New Jersey. The gore is limited to a small amount, whereas the rest of the production is packed with fun and the most outlandish features theatregoers can ask for in a superhero comic story. From vivid colours, to energetic dancing, to the songs and insults, it’s absolutely entertaining.
Big in its exaggerations, the show actually brings attention to the damages of unregulated pollution and the problematic acceptance of the different by society. Not to be overlooked, the current affairs mentioned and cross-references to other musicals are disseminated here and there.
Bold acting with brazen performances is the key to success for such a hilarious comedy. Funny and irreverent, the performers are absolutely at the peak of their energy on the stage, whether for just short appearances or the impossible dialogue/monologue the superb Hope delivers in the second act. Special acknowledgement goes to Ché Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morrey who have the challenging task of covering all the other roles (which are many), from the illiterate bullies to the whimsical friends of Sarah, to the queer hairdressers and the greedy businessmen. Their performances are simply impressive.
Photo: The Toxic Avenger
The Toxic Avenger – the musical is at the Arts Theatre from the 28th September until 3rd December 2017. For further information or to book visit the Arts Theatre website here.
Watch the trailer for The Toxic Avenger here: