Arts Theatre, London – until 3 December 2017
Based on the cult movie of the 1980’s The Toxic Avenger is a gloriously silly and immensely enjoyable spoof on comic book heroes. It doesn’t take itself seriously, it’s just one delightful evening of entertainment from start to finish with a hugely talented cast, whose energy was at such a high level they gave out fun with a capital F!
The story of a blind beautiful librarian who captures the heart of geeky Melvin who’s definitely no hero. However, when he comes to her rescue as two neighbourhood bullies set on her, he is flung into a vat of toxic waste (which is becoming ever prevalent in Tromaville since the new Mayor was elected) and becomes hideously mutated. Does good reign over evil and win the day as well as the girl – well what do you think?
This is the second time reviewing this show. My first encounter with Toxie was at its previous run at Southwark Playhouse. Can intoxication for a show strike twice? Emma Salvo plays blind librarian Sarah. Salvo, who keeps the act up throughout was hysterical in her performance delivery. Adorable, funny and endearing this show’s love interest has it all. Oscar Conlon-Morrey (white dude) and Ché Francis (black dude) have the unenviable job of playing multiple characters. My particular favourites were the cop and doctor, their antics had me laughing out loud.
The Mayor and “Toxie’s” mother are both played by Natalie Hope a cross between Krystle Carrington from Dynasty as the mayor and Mrs Overall as the mother, which meant more hysteria followed. With a strong voice which really suits the rockier numbers her comic timing, sassiness, dancing and facial expressions were absolutely brilliant.
Photos by Irina Chira
Mark Anderson takes the lead masterfully here with the transition between geek and comic book hero is effective and effortlessly carried out. He is after all, the title character “Toxie” and our leading man lives up to my hero status in a most powerful way imaginable.
This show’s music and lyrics were written by David Bryan and encompass’ many genres from Latin, gospel and obviously rock. Conlon-Morrey comes out a number of times as a rock god and the amusement that Bryan is caricaturing here is not lost on the delighted audience.
I loved the references to other well-known musicals and enjoyed spotting the little nods to these. It’s refreshing to have an evening at something that doesn’t take itself to seriously and is purely for the enjoyment of the audience, although it has to be said that the cast looked like they were having a ball as well!
Photos by Irina Chira
In summary this show is camp, silly and uproariously hilarious. The talented cast rise to the challenges and their comic timing is sheer brilliance. A show fest of trashy 1980’s “B movie” songs and costumes with much hilarity, ensures that this is visual delight which is set to be anyone who sees it, new guilty pleasure. The standing ovation at the end was testament to the superb cast, brilliant onstage band, writing and direction. So if you are looking for some “toxic love” get yourself to the Arts Theatre before the end of this limited run on 3rd December.
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