The Toxic Avenger The Musical – Southwark Playhouse
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 whose 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?
Hannah Grover plays blind librarian Sarah, who keeps the act up throughout and how she doesn’t laugh at the antics going on around her at some points is beyond me. Adorable, funny and endearing with a beautiful voice this show’s love interest has it all. Marc Pickering (white dude) and Ashley Samuels (black dude) have the unenviable job of playing multiple characters, most of which are simply hysterical. My favourites being Sarah’s best girlfriends Shinequa and Diane although I’d say if you were auditioning for Kinky Boots anytime soon you need to shave those legs boys, both the costumes and their general persona’s made me actually cry with laughter at one point,
The Mayor and “Toxie’s” mother are both played by Lizzii Hills a cross between Krystle Carrington from Dynasty as the mayor and Mrs Overall as the mother, which meant more hysteria followed. With a strong clear voice which really suits the rockier numbers her comic timing, sassiness and facial expressions were brilliant.
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’s” 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. Pickering 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. Particularly as we were fortunate to have David Bryan in the audience the night I saw the show and watching his songs being sung, even mouthing the words at times gave for extra amusement for anyone who could see him.
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. Who knew that something whose concept should be a recipe for disaster will, I shouldn’t wonder, be the next West End hit. The standing ovation at the end was testament to the superb cast, brilliant band, writing and direction. So if you are looking for some “toxic love” get yourself to Southwark Playhouse and see this stupendous “green” production.