The Toxic Avenger Musical

musicals and operas · good people theater company · Ages 13+ · United States of America

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Review by ERIK BLAIR

June 04, 2016 certified reviewer
tagged as: funny · dirty · musical · adult · comedy · gross · violence · cartoonish · humor

What I liked

Normally, I would simply credit the cast as a whole, but in this case I literally have to point out every single one of this five-person cast separately—because they are THAT GOOD and are without question THE REASON to come see this show.

  • Jared Reed (Toxie): Goodness gracious, it takes tremendous talent to sing a lament about tearing someone’s heart out WHILE wearing a costume that makes you into a mutant freak…and make me miserably sad and empathetic for you at the same time. I bow to that considerable talent, sir.
  • Kim Dalton (Sarah): Proving once and for all that you CANNOT judge a book by its cover, Kim’s voice so incredibly overwhelms her petite size by being so…beautifully….large. She knocks several solo numbers dead in perfect fashion. Spot. On.
  • Shirley Hatton (Mayor/Ma): I was hooked on her voice and performance by the time she was doing as the Mayor. Then she hooked me again as the mother. And then, to blow my mind, she did both as a duet. AS A Son of a Gun DUET. Blew. My. Mind. If you find those brains, Shirley, please email me so I can get them back.
  • Wesley Tunison / Danny Fetter (White Dude / Black Dude): Yes, I put these two fellows together—but that’s because they both served as literally EVERY OTHER CHARACTER in the entire show. And that was a tag-team of sheer brilliance, sheer tenacity and (in some cases) sheer drag. These two men are the heart and soul of the show and it falls completely apart without their skill, talent and impeccable harmonies. I was impressed over and over again by how fast they returned in new costumes and with new characters. Brilliance in every way.

And while I’m at it, kudos to the:

  • Costuming Staff
  • The Bored/Irritated Stage Crew Girl (Whoever You Are)
  • Janet Miller & Corey Hirsch – As a director myself, I know exactly how much of this falls on you two as well. Consider me very duly impressed. If you catch me at either Fringe Central or Three Clubs, I’ll buy you a drink!

What I didn't like

  • Nothing. Really. Loved it.

My overall impression

The Toxic Avenger is one of Troma’s great films. This particular musical is one that’s already been traipsing around before coming to Fringe, so it has the advantage of having been tested and tried in previous scenarios.

But that also means that Fringe audiences should expect better because of that—and in this case, they will NOT be disappointed, because this show is fantastic. Really, truly fantastic. From the first number which truly set the tone—including how much profanity, what the level of humor and what the level of violence and special effects were going to be—the show was off and running. And it never stopped.

The casting is great. Strong, smart choices. Great leads. Perfect back ups. Dynamic voices. Nailed harmonies. Dirty lyrics. Catchy music. Do I need more statements of how much I liked it? Because I sure did.

By the end of the show, the only thing I wanted more of was the fact that the show had hit its most goofy and elaborate moments and then pulled back—and I sort of had wanted it to get even MORE elaborate at the end. To sort of pull out all the stops of everything it had built in terms of characters, stunts, ideas, multiple characterizations, etc. and go COMPLETELY nuts. Instead, it went halfway nuts and then fizzled. That may be the script’s fault—but it was just the smallest bit disappointing.

But that’s a tiny failure in a show that is largely nothing but so, so, so good. Man, I just had fun. Tromaville will never be a place of perfection or a place of Oscars (or Tonys, for that matter). It will never be a place of beauty or of great art. But DAMN, it can be a place of dirty, rough fun. And that’s exactly what this show is—and should be.

So get your ass over to see it while you can.

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