Monday, April 06, 2009

The Toxic Avenger Musical

photo: Carol Rosegg

When a nerd gets dunked in a vat of toxic waste he's transformed into a fugly superhuman vigilante out to rid New Jersey of pollution. Like the Evil Dead movie, the Toxic Avenger flick quickly attained cult status for its mix of gross-out gore and jokey cheesiness, but the Evil Dead stage musical, seen a couple of seasons ago, doesn't come anywhere near the zany, boundlessly enjoyable thrill of The Toxic Avenger Musical. The show, which sends itself up with (often irreverent) jokes and gags that fly at Family Guy speed, is moved from the mere over-the-top to the camp stratosphere thanks to never-a-dull-moment direction and the outrageous comic talents of its cast (of five, each ridiculously spot-on funny). Nancy Opel is especially wild as both a corrupt, toxic sewage dumping politician and the Toxic Avenger's long-suffering mom: the show's most deliciously wacky moment comes when she has to play both at the same time. The songs are fun and witty and never put a drag on the show's locomotive momentum: this is the kind of high-quality camp delight that you round up all your Adult Swim-watching friends to see, a guaranteed laugh-packed party.

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