|Jessi Little not eyeballing Brian Lange in The Toxic Avenger Musical (Galen Wicks)|
The Toxic Avenger Musical
(at Ballard Underground)
Through October 1, 2016
Joe DiPietro and David Bryan created a musical version of the 1984 film Toxic Avenger in 2008. It’s basically a spoof-takeoff of cartoon stories like Spiderman and there are no real surprises once the introductions are done. But it is very fun, especially when performed by some of Seattle’s most spooftastic performers.
In STAGEright's production, we have Brian Lange, Seattle’s geek heartthrob, who turns from the mild-mannered Melvin Ferd the Third (and a thin, querulous vocal style) to the hunky but eyeball dropping Toxy (and a powerful, hunky vocal). We have Ann Cornelius, the mama with the mostest as Ma Ferd and the hatingest mayor of Tromaville ever. We have Jessi Little stumbling blindly around as the silliest librarian west of the Mississippi.
Then there are the two hard-working ensemble members who get to be everyone else, and crack us up in every iteration: Sara Henley-Hicks and Nick Michael Watson. They play cops, robbers, henchmen, doowap backup dancers, best friends, and many others.
There are more costume changes than anyone but the cast can keep track of, and sometimes even the cast can’t keep track of them. Occasionally, costumes are so hastily donned that they fall off, but it doesn’t matter. (Costumes by Helen Roundhill)
Director Sophia Federighi keeps the comedy hopping, with music director Brandon Peck managing a trio of onstage musicians that help fill in costume change times. Jessica Low has a big job as choreographer, since most of the show is sung and there is a lot of opportunity to choreograph everything. Low definitely adds a great deal of fun with arranged silliness.
The basic story is that Melvin, an earth scientist, vows to clean up Tromaville’s toxic waste, but the mayor has her henchpeople throw him into a vat of toxic waste. Instead of dying, he emerges changed, and angry enough to get revenge.
Of course he’s in love with the blind librarian, and of course she kind of falls in love with him, but what if she actually feels his face? Will she accept his droopy eye? NO! Well, maybe…
Sometimes you need sheer entertainment and even with the thinly clad environmental message, this musical is about as sheer as it gets. The music is not great rock and roll and the lyrics are predictable, but again, who cares? It’s fun.
Grab your gal friend and guy friend and go hang out with these silly people. There’s plenty to laugh at, and you might even find something under your seat.