Falconâ€™s ‘Toxic Avenger’ Is an Irreverent Romp
Review by Laurel Humes of Toxic Avenger: Falcon Theatre
Silly. Tasteless. Hilarious.
All are apt descriptions of The Toxic Avenger now at Falcon Theatre in Newport, an award-winning musical based on the 1980â€™s cult B-movie.
The setting is a toxic waste dump site in Tromaville, N.J. Our hero, Melvin, aided by beautiful blind librarian Sarah, wants to clean it up. But the mayor, who is profiting from storing the toxic waste, has her goons dump Melvin into a barrel of the stuff. He emerges as â€“ you guessed it â€“ the Toxic Avenger.
Actor Zac Huffman then must spend the rest of the show encased in a creepy blend of mask and makeup, so skillfully done it is a highlight of the show. Huffmanâ€™s first song as Toxie (affectionate nickname) was hard to understand on opening night, but all was smooth after that brief glitch.
For the rest of the show, Toxie does little waste cleanup, but a whole lot of running for his life and wooing Sarah without letting her touch him. In â€œThank God, Sheâ€™s Blind,â€ Toxie sings, â€œWhen your face looks decayed, itâ€™s hard to get laid.â€ Adds another character, â€œIf blind people wonâ€™t love ugly people, who will?â€
And those kind of lyrics and lines are continuous through this campy, politically incorrect, very funny show. A beat after laughing at the blind girl run into the wall, you feel bad. Then you laugh again when she does it again.
This is a hardworking cast, using just five actors to play multiple roles. Melvin is also Toxie. The mayor (Amy Grace Curtis) is also Ma, Melvinâ€™s mother. In a hilarious â€œduetâ€ between mayor and Ma (â€œBitch/Slut/Liar/Whoreâ€), Curtis needs quick costume and wig changes, finally emerging dressed half as each character.
Carrying the rest of numerous parts are Black Dude (R. DeAndre Smith) and White Dude (Robert Breslin). The two actors excel at sketching out characters in their brief appearances, wringing out the laughs.
Once again, Falcon uses its tiny stage to full advantage. The four-person band is onstage throughout, visible behind a set of (artfully) piled up tires, traffic cones and waste drums.
The Toxic Avenger has credentials â€“ it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical in 2009. Falconâ€™s production does the show justice.
The Toxic Avenger runs through Oct. 15. Call 513-479-6783 or go to www.falcontheatre.net.