THE TOXIC AVENGER
Book & lyrics by Joe Dipietro
Music & lyrics by David Brian
Based on Lloyd Kaufman’s The Toxic Avenger.
Southwark Playhouse to 21 May
The Large, 77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD to 21 May 2016.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat & Tues 3pm.
Runs 2hr 30 mins One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7407 0234.
Review: William Russell 26 April.
Terrific Intoxicating Toxic Treat
Down in Tromaville, a suburb of New Jersey, life is not good. Pollution is everywhere and the crooked Lady Mayor is behind it. One day Melvin Ferd, an aspiring earth scientist, falls foul of some mayoral yobboes and is dunked in a vat of toxic waste, only to emerge as a big green giant of hideous appearance who sets about saving the planet, or at least that bit of it which is Tromaville.
What follows is a hilarious rock musical very much in the Rocky Horror tradition which reeks with bad taste, terrific jokes, and good tunes. It also has a first rate cast.
Mark Anderson is everyone’s nerd as Melvin in love with the local librarian Sarah, a delicious blonde who just happens to be blind. He is shy, she feels his face, decides he is ugly, which he is not, and rebuffs his approaches. Savour the moment when she asks is so shy because he is a virgin? He admits it, asks her in turn and she nearly dies laughing.
Naturally Sarah does fancy Toxie, as she calls the monster when he comes to call, although she is only allowed after a lot of persuading to feel his face, having been already somewhat aroused by his massively well developed frame. Hannah Grover is delicious in the role.
As Melvin’s mother and the Mayor Lizzi Hills is shamelessly outrageous, and brings the first half to a riotous close by managing to play both roles simultaneously. Ashley Samuels and Marc Pickering play everybody else quite brilliantly, so much so that at times one does not recognise them as they endlessly change sex and costume. As for Toxie, Mark Anderson makes him a figure of pity just like Frankenstein’s monster. He may rip the bad guys to pieces, but his heart is in the right place.
There are some great lines. Sarah has hidden the incriminating papers which will help Melvin nail the mayor in the library where nobody will find them. They have been catalogued as – the important policy speeches of Sarah Palin. And at one point someone sings – When your face gets decayed, It is hard to get laid. The show is funny, lewd, has a message for our times and has been directed at breakneck speed by Benji Sperring. Brad and Janet even pass through during the course of the evening.
Melvin Ferd the Third/Toxie: Mark Anderson.
Sarah: Hanna Grover.
Black Dude: Ashley Samuels.
White Dude: Marc Pickering.
Ma Ferd/ Mayor: Lizzi Hills.
Director: Benji Sperring.
Musical Director: Alex Beetschen.
Set & Costume Designer: Mike Lees.
Lighting Designer: Nic Farman.
Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson.
Choreographer: Lucie Pankhurst