Orange County Theatre Reviews

(photo courtesy Francis Gerard Gecad)

Written by Patrick Chavis

Toxic Avenger, the Musical is playing now at the Wayward Artist in Santa Ana from April 22nd – May 8th.  The Wayward Artist put on a loud, frantic, and generally hilarious take on this silly rock musical. Fans of the material and fans of raunchy humor will enjoy this production.

Story

The Toxic Avenger is about Melvin Ferd the Third, played by Joe Stein. He’s a nerdy do-gooder who wants to clean up his polluted city of New Jersey.  When he discovers the culprit polluting the town, Mayor Babs Belgoody (played by Natalie Giannosa), he’s thrown into a vat of radioactive material. Instead of dying, he becomes a super-strong mutant to help stop pollution in New Jersey, and hopefully, he gets the girl.

Set

Dark green lighting covers the set at the beginning of the show. The music as you walk in is an atmospheric water drip that sounds like you are in a sewer or a garbage dump. The set was composed of trash cans and garbage bags piled together on a tiny two-stepped stage.

Script

This script is a balls-to-the-wall, dark comedy plus healthy doses of 80s rock attitude and raunchiness. Be prepared for a lot of vulgar humor.

Acting

The singing, dancing, and choreography only get better as the cast keeps a furious pace of jokes and mayhem throughout the show. The lively choreography from choreographer Keenah Armitage is a big part of why it works so well.

The more actors you have on stage, the more opportunity you have for including a mediocre or, even worse, bad performance. With a cast of 5 actors playing every character in this production and multiple actors playing more than one character, switching from one character to another is challenging, but the acting was exceptional. I have to chalk this great stage acting to the casting and direction.  All of the actors looked comfortable on the stage, which translated to excellent delivery. I was at the show’s first performance, and traditionally you’ll find jitters or mistakes, which is understandable and a part of live theatre. Whatever director Craig Tyrl is doing to get his actors in the right mindset, it’s working.

Final Thoughts

Content-wise, we aren’t learning much in this show. But even in the silliest material, I believe you can find a lesson in the material or from watching the material. It was a lot of fun. I was laughing throughout this show. Not a virgin to this show as years ago, I saw this show at the Maverick Theatre in Fullerton. Watching this version made the same material fresh again. You can watch the same thing and get repeated performances and approaches or something unique and different that makes the show feel brand new.

If my memory serves me, and it usually doesn’t, this is my first time watching Natalie Giannosa on stage. I hope it’s not the last. It’s not always the case, but a good performance of a bad guy often helps make a good story, and Giannosa plays a fantastic villain in this production as the sexy, evil Mayor Babs Belgoody. She also plays two other characters, sometimes within minutes of each other.

Review
8.7 Overall
0 Users (0 votes)
Story8
Acting10
Set & Design8
Costumes8.5
Entertainment9
What people say... 0 Leave your rating

Be the first to leave a rating.

Leave your rating

  Great Show!  Orange Curtain Recommended!

Comments are closed.