The Toxic Avenger

Book by Joe DiPetro and music by David Bryan

Aria Entertainment and Flying Music

Pleasance Courtyard

From 02 August 2017 to 28 August 2017

Rating: ***

Review by Liam Blain

A fun but futile attempt to revive a cult classic in musical form, Lloyd Kauffman's Toxic Avenger will have you laughing out loud while you spend your evening questioning every thing happening in front of your eyes.

When Melvin Ford III figures out that Mayor Babs Belgoody is the secret owner of Good Earth, the company transporting Toxic Waste into his home state, he refuses to stand by and watch his stomping ground be destroyed. So with the backing of his blind girlfriend and confident Sarah, they head off to fix this problem.

Unbeknown to Melvin, his mission soon takes a brand new shape when the Mayor's henchmen drop him into some toxic waste and unwittingly turn him into the Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Based on the 1984 film of the same name, the whole production is as goofy and colourful as the cartoon poster predicts. The tongue-in-cheek nature of this production certainly saves it in places yet the lacklustre puns and over-the-top characters do very slowly begin to wear thin as the clock grows closer to midnight.

That said, there are some great stand-out performances, especially from Natalie Hope as a multi-rolling genius, jumping between a nun, the mayor and Melvin's mother—at points all at the same time. Emma Salvo as Sarah is also a true comic actor and vocal talent who I'm sure we will see again, be it at the Edinburgh Fringe or somewhere further afield.

Overall, Toxic Avenger is a surreal spectacle that is as hysterical and brash as it is ridiculous and rough round the edges but well worth the ticket money for a comical night at the theatre.