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EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: THE TOXIC AVENGER, Pleasance One

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: THE TOXIC AVENGER, Pleasance OneEDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: THE TOXIC AVENGER, Pleasance OneBased on the 1984 cult movie, rock musical The Toxic Avenger received its New York premiere in 2009. It enjoyed a successful short run at London's Southwark Playhouse in 2016, and it plays at the Edinburgh Fringe prior to returning to London for a limited run at the Arts Theatre in autumn 2017.

This 75-minute Edinburgh edition is a shortened version of the London presentations, with a predominantly new cast for 2017, and it once again provides great entertainment and many laughs throughout.

Nerdy Melvin Ferd III - an aspiring scientist - vows to clean up the state of New Jersey, with the help of Sarah, the town's blind librarian. In doing so, Melvin must face Mayor Babs Belgoody, who harbours an ambition to be New Jersey's governor, but who is actually the one allowing the shipping of toxic waste. Unfortunately, the Mayor's henchmen drop Melvin into a drum of this toxic waste, but he emerges from the slime as the Toxic Avenger (nicknamed Toxie by Sarah) - a large, green mutant with a hideously deformed face.

Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495
Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495
Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495
Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495
Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495
Welcome to New Jersey, the dumping ground of Manhattan, where nerdy Melvin Ferd III has discovered a dangerous secret, Mayor Babs Belgoody owns Good Earth, the company transporting the toxic waste to his state. Armed with this knowledge and with the help of his blind librarian girlfriend Sarah, he sets out to right the wrong. However, when the Mayor's henchmen drop him in a vat of toxic waste, a new superhero is born, The Toxic Avenger, or Toxie for short.

Read more at: http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/entertainment/review-the-toxic-avenger-the-musical-1-4532495

Mark Anderson reprises his Southwark Playhouse dual role as Melvin/Toxie, and is in great voice. He succeeds in gaining the audience's sympathy both as nerdy Melvin, who desperately wants a relationship with Sarah, and as Toxie, who wants to make the world a better place.

Emma Salvo excels as Sarah, a role which is more than a little reminscent of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. Natalie Hope is a wonderful addition to the Edinburgh cast as the Mayor - a tremendous find. She is electrifying to watch and to listen to, and the most memorable scenes are when she is on stage - the costume designer has had a ball with her too.

Writers Joe DiPietro and David Bryan demonstrate, as they did with hit musical Memphis, that they understand a theatre audience. The original film plot of The Toxic Avenger is undeniably bonkers, but the stage production celebrates this, with a clever, genuinely funny script which plays knowingly to the audience without being predictable, and on more than one occasion manages to break the fourth wall (a plug for the upcoming Arts Theatre run is even dropped in halfway through).

Whilst only around half of the musical numbers are memorable, they are performed unfailingly with gusto and high-quality vocals. All of the cast work hard, with some even taking part in a costumed 'meet-and-greet' beforehand as they speak to queuing audience members to establish if anyone present is from New Jersey.

The Toxic Avenger is a genuinely unforgettable (and intoxicating) late-night treat. It's a must-see for anyone who likes musical comedy, a story with a heart, and a raucously entertaining night out.

The Toxic Avenger runs at Pleasance Courtyard until August 28 at 10.30pm.

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From This Author Gregor Dickson

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