Written by Patrick Chavis
Heroes come in many forms. Right now at the cinema they come in capes with rippling muscles and have very bad story development (Exhibit A, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice). But if you find yourself at the Maverick Theatre this April you’ll discover a new type a hero. The type of hero, with out-of-this-world silly story development that might make you barf. And it’s all because of his toxic awesomeness!
Toxic Avenger is the story of Melvin Ferd the Third, but he’s so much more than a nerd. Bill Nye’s a Nerd; Neil deGrasse Tyson is a Nerd, but Melvin is also a loser with a serious lack of self-confidence, which is a fact his love interest is kind enough to cheerfully point out. New Jersey has a horrible toxic waste issue, and Melvin Ferd vows to clean his city up. While looking into the city records he discovers the toxic waste is the fault of their corrupt mayor, Babs Belgoody. Melvin plans to blow the whistle, but before he can do so the mayor sends her inept goons to silence him by throwing him into a vat of toxic waste. This endows Melvin with superhuman strength, a super ugly face and a super cool new name–The Toxic Avenger (or “Toxi” for short).
What I like about Toxic Avenger the Musical is that it knows what it is and consistently stays with it the entire storyline. Toxic Avenger the Musical is a farce, and it knows it’s telling you a basic storyline of a loser rising up to become something more. But because the story is self-aware and so outlandish, the basic plot structure becomes something unique and different. The show purposely has a shallow sense of storytelling. Even the main message, which isn’t hidden at all, of take care of the environment is flat-out said near the end of the show. No one is walking out of this musical thinking, what was that about? What are the psychological effects society had on Melvin Ferd? Unlike the Hudson River, the writing and overall aim of this show is crystal clear (HAHAHA, show joke).
The Maverick did their research. The set design, which was shrunken down to fit the space, is very similar to some of early New York productions, but they didn’t merely mimic those groups. You just notice similarities. The costumes, especially those used for Toxi, are quite unique. You’ve never seen this version of Toxic Avenger, and that is what makes theatre so wonderful and alive. We get topical Trump jokes thrown into the show. The costume is outlandish with an eye-ball popping out the majority of the time. There are gags that happen when someone has trouble exiting off the stage because they weren’t fast enough. You get all of this when you go to this show.
There are two actors playing the entire ensemble–Korey Gene Mitchell and Steven Joseph Alcantar. They each play at least five different character and they nail it every time. It’s hilarious, and the actors utilize the entire space of the Maverick. This show is not restricted to the stage. Tara Pit and Enrique are strong leads. Enrique (Toxi) can belt with the best of them. I would be remiss to not mention Dahna Lane (Mayor Babs/Ma Ferd/Nun) who not only pulls off three character but plays two characters at the exact same time in dynamic fashion.
Do you lack a sense of humor, hate loud rock music and don’t understand sarcasm? Then Toxic Avenger the Musical is not the show that will change you, but for everyone else this is another solid performance from the Maverick theatre crew.
Side Note : The drumming by Sho Fujieda is exhilarating!
April 1st – May 7th
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