Review: THE TOXIC AVENGER ★★★★★

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The Toxic Avenger | Southwark Playhouse


A MASTERCLASS IN COMEDY MUSICAL THEATRE

 

Having never seen the 1980’s B-Movie that the musical version of The Toxic Avenger is based on, I was unaware of what to expect at the Southwark Playhouse. Being the big fan of musical theatre that I am, I’ve heard most scores out there but somehow this one has escaped me, so I was excited to hear something completely new to me.

From the very first beat, I was beaming with joy as I realised this was going to be a great sounding rock musical. The five piece band, perched within the set, sounded massive and really was its own character in the show.

Leading man Mark Anderson, who plays scared local nerd Melvin (later turned ‘Toxie’), does such a great job in portraying the sweet innocence of Melvin and then the hard man exterior of his later deformed self. The love story of this show is just like any other, cute girl  Sarah (played by Hannah Grover) falls in love with the bulging biceped hero… apart from this hero has been transformed into a green monster by a vat of toxic waste, and the cute girl is well, optically challenged!

The laughs come in thick and fast during the 2 hour show, with a lot coming from the horned up  . Just when you think they can’t do another blind joke, another one is pulled out of the hat. The act one finale sees actress Lizzii Hills pitting her two very different characters (Toxie’s mum and the femme fatale mayor) face to face, or should that be side by side, in a hilarious dual personality number ‘Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore’. The stamina she must have to keep up with the costume changes and voices in unbelievable.

The shows other numbers roles are all played by Marc Pickering and Ashley Samuels. These guys have really got their work cut out, switching through several regular characters and some random ones, and both having their fair share of cross dressing. Pickering has the audience in the palm of his hands with his cheeky winks at people, letting them know that he knows how ridiculous he looks at times.

Vocally, I cannot pick out any of the 5 performers – all of them are just perfect for this show. They all have incredibly strong and rocky voices; this show could have been written around their talents.

This hilariously ridiculous rock musical, written by Joe DiPietro with music by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan (the team behind Memphis The Musical), will leave you with a massive smile on your face, a warm feeling in your heart, and some damn catchy music in your head. The west end needs this cult hit to have a permanent home.

Date of performance: 10/05/16

LISTINGS

THE TOXIC AVENGER

Until 21st May

Southwark Playhouse

£25 | £20 concessions | £14 previews

020 7407 0234

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James Drury

About James Drury

James has worked behind the scenes in the West End for the last 9 years and is currently an Assistant Stage Manager.