With the definitive MGM film never far from mind, it can be hard to find an original spin to put on Guys & Dolls. Joseph Pitcher’s production doesn’t stray far from the 1955 version but the young cast brings a verve and energy which gives the whole piece a vital boost
The Toxic Avenger is certainly a stylised, kitsch, cult musical – takis’ set and costumes paint a vivid picture of a luminously dystopian New Jersey (or is it reality?), overrun with toxic waste that the Mayor (Natalie Hope) is dumping about town in order to make a quick buck.
Set in New Jersey, where pollution has over taken the city, we meet Melvin the dweeby teenager (in love with the town’s blind librarian) who is thrown into a vat of toxic waste, becomes the Toxic Avenger and vows to take justice into his own hands.
It’s no small tale they have to tell, as small-town nerd Melvin takes on the corrupt establishment of New Jersey (Who Will Save New Jersey) who are taking bribes from the Manhattan elite so they can continue to dump their waste across the Hudson River.
Anchored by a properly star-making and heart-breaking performance from Kaisa Hammarlund, Derek Bond’s Royal Exchange production of Sweet Charity just works.