NYC4: "Toxic Avenger" etc.

June 7, 2009
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Fourth in a series of blogs from my recent NYC trip.

As mentioned previously, this trek to New York included visits to the Broadway productions of "Hair," "Reasons to Be Pretty," and "9 to 5," all of which are up for numerous Tony Awards tonight. My reviews of these three can be found in this week's IBJ or by clicking here.

FYI: The awards broadcast airs at 8 on CBS, but many of the prizes will be given beginning an hour earlier. These can be seen live on the Tony Awards website.

I did see a fourth show while in the city: the off-Broadway comedy musical "The Toxic Avenger."

Ten minutes into the show, I passed a note to my companion. It’s one word: “Sorry.”

Unlike “Little Shop of Horrors” or even “Evil Dead: The Musical,” this horror movie take-off about a sensitive guy turned avenger after a run-in with a vat of toxic waste didn't seem to have a target. After all, it’s spoofing a film that nobody—not even the filmmakers—took seriously.

It looked to be a long, intermissionless, evening.

But after another ten minutes or so of eye-rolling plot set up, a transformation happed. Thanks in large part to the inspired physical comedy of villainess Nancy Opel (like the director, a key player in Broadway's great "Urinetown"), the quick-changing silliness of rubber-faced supporting player Demond Green, founding Bon Jovi member David Bryan’s over-the-top score (with such songs as “Evil is Hot,” “Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore” and “Hot Toxic Love”), designer John Dods’ effective prosthetic body parts, and more inappropriate blind jokes than you can shake a cane at, “The Toxic Avenger” became giddy, albeit still aimless, fun.

I smell a sequel…or, at least, a production at Theatre on the Square as soon as the rights are released.

That'll teach me to pass notes.

Your thoughts?
  • Laughing out LOUD. It definitely sounds like something Theatre on the Square will jump on.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

    PS - Thanks for the other reviews, too, Lou, especially the one of the new LaBute play. 'Made me want to pop on over to NYC myself.
  • PS again - You know I laughed at the idea of TOTS doing this show because I admire artistic director Ron Spencer's wacky artistic courage, right? Sometimes tone does not come across well online.

    I'm laughing in delight again, knowing that there is, indeed, a very good chance that Indy audiences will get to see Toxic Avenger some day, thanks to Ron.

    Hope Baugh
    Indy Theatre Habit

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