The Toxic Avenger Musical: the Wildest, Most Hilarious Show You’ll Ever See

Get ready to head to New Jersey and dive into the hilariously disturbing world of The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, a show so disturbing, that they’ve got a registered nurse stationed in the lobby!
From the moment the announcer warns you the show is 18 hours long with only one brief intermission, you know you’re in for one hell of a ride you’ll never forget.

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The film focuses on Tromaville, a town drowning in toxic waste, where if the pollution doesn’t get you, the aroma will. It’s here, amidst the toxic fumes that were introduced to Melvin Ferd, a hapless and kind-hearted soul whose only solace is his friendship with Sarah, the blind librarian, a girl he secretly pines over, but unfortunately for Melvin, she doesn’t feel the same way about him.

Hoping to impress Sarah and driven by a sense of justice, Melvin declares that he intends to save Tromaville from the vats of toxic waste that line the streets. With Sarah’s help, he begins to investigate the source of the pollution, where he discovers that Tromaville Mayor Babs Belgoody, is secretly the owner of ‘The Good Earth’ corporation, the company responsible for polluting the city.

After uncovering her secret, he confronts the mayor with an ultimatum. Either confess to what she’s been doing, or he intends to go to the District Attorney with his findings. Simple-minded and easily swayed, instead of turning her in, Melvin accepts the mayor’s counteroffer as Deputy of Tromaville and begins getting to work cleaning up the city.

Unbeknownst to him, the mayor hires her nephew Sluggo, and his equally unsavory associate, Bozo, to silence Melvin and put an end to his righteous do-gooder attitude. Together the two decide the best way to get rid of Melvin is to drop him in a vat of toxic waste. But fate has other plans, instead of killing him, the hazardous material causes him to mutate into the Toxic Avenger, a hideous deformed creature of superhuman size and strength.

His first act as Toxie is to rescue Sarah from the clutches of Sluggo and Bozo, and after saving her life, she falls for her unlikely hero, unaware of his true identity. Leaving her to swoon over her new boyfriend, Toxie returns home, where his mother, Momma Ferd, disproves of his new transformation and takes him to see Professor Ken, a scientist with a penchant for the bizarre. From his tests, the professor is able to deduce that if exposed to common household bleach, it could mean the end of our hideous deformed hero.

Now armed with superhuman strength, Toxie begins his crusade against crime and those responsible for destroying his beloved Tromaville. But while the citizens adore him, the mayor plots to put an end to the reign of the Toxic Avenger. Determined to discover her foe’s weakness, she pays Professor Ken a visit, where after seducing the good doctor, she discovers his only weakness. Determined to learn more about how to defeat the Toxic Avenger, the mayor decides to pay Mamma Ferd a visit, where during their confrontation, she reveals that her son is in love with Sarah.

Convinced that she has what she needs to take down her foe, the mayor declares Marshall Law in Tromaville and orders its citizens to bring their bleach to City Hall. Aware that the citizens of Tromaville still adore the Toxic Avenger, the mayor comes up with a plan to turn the people against him, and in order to do that, she needs the help of the one woman who truly loves him.
The mayor hellbent on destroying Toxie, visits Sarah, where she reveals that her new boyfriend is not only the Toxic Avenger, but he’s also Melvin. After learning the truth, Sarah rejects his love, unable to look beyond his hideous deformed features. Enraged by Sarah’s rejection, the Toxic Avenger renounces his pledge to do no harm and goes on a rampage, murdering and terrorizing the innocent citizens of Tromaville.

No longer their hero, the citizens turn against Toxie and join the mayor’s crusade to get rid of the Toxic Avenger, once and for all.

Hoping to protect her son, Toxie’s mom seeks out Sarah, hoping that she will be the one to save him before it’s too late. Unsure of how she could ever love him, Momma Ferd helps Sarah understand that all men are freaks.  Having realized the mistake she made, Sarah goes out in search of her love, while the mayor also begins her deadly search of the now disgraced hero, commanding the citizens of Tromaville to join her in her hunt for the Toxic Avenger.

As the citizens of Tromaville arm themselves with bleach, Toxie and Sarah must prepare themselves to fight one of the oddest, fourth-wall-breaking battles ever recorded on film, all in the hope of redeeming Toxie’s name and bringing a brighter future to Tromaville.

For fans of the original Toxic Avenger movie, it’s important to note that the musical’s plot deviates slightly from the film, including the introduction of new characters, and alternations to pre-existing ones, including introducing Sarah earlier in the film and establishing her as having a pre-existing friendship with Melvin even before his transformation into the titular Toxic Avenger. The limited cast also plays a significant factor in the musical having to deviate from the source material, by eliminating a number of the characters from the film.

But while the musical might differ from the Toxic Avenger movie in the story, it stays true to the absurd over-the-top humor that made us love the original. The Toxic Avenger: The Musical isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall and get the audience involved. Whether it’s interactive segments or moments where the actors can’t keep a straight face, like in a hilarious moment when the actor playing Sarah, Emma Salvo, trips during the chase sequence and breaks character, in a clearly stagged but unscripted sequence.

Salvo pretends to sprawl helplessly on the stage, while the rest of the cast and crew come out to try and help her. During this time, she delivers hilarious lines and adlibs with the crew and audience, including a moment where a lewd gesture from a member of the audience and a wisecrack by one of her castmates, causes her to break out in a fit of uncontrollable laughter.  

The humor in The Toxic Avenger: The Musical is easily the best part of the whole experience, as the film succeeds in being a perfect blend of wit and satire that is sure to have viewers continuously laughing throughout the film.

Even the live band is in on the joke, with members of the band joining in on a number of the jokes, including shooting one of the cast members who refuses to die and drags out their death sequence, delivering a performance akin to the one Paul Reubens delivered in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.
Along with the scripted humor, the musical numbers are also a huge part of the comical appeal of the film, with songs like “Thank God She’s Blind” and “Evil Is Hot” is clear that this musical is played for laughs.

With that being said, while humor is one aspect of the show, one of the other important elements of the film is the impressive performances delivered by the talented cast. With only five cast members in the entire production, a number of the actors are given the overwhelming task of seamlessly switching between multiple roles, showcasing their acting and vocal talent.

The standout moment comes when Natalie Hope, the actress portraying both Melvin’s mother and the Mayor, seamlessly transitions between both characters, singing as one character and then darting behind a curtain to quickly reemerge as the other. During this difficult sequence, the two supporting actors on stage, Oscar Conlon-Morrey and Che Francis, aid in distracting the audience during this technical feat, which culminates in Hope appearing dressed half as each character.

Even in the climactic resurrection scene, the production continues to pull out all the stops to keep the audience laughing. As Toxie lies dying, Professor Ken arrives, but instead of delivering a startling revolution, he shows up and proclaims, that there is nothing that can bring him back.

This abrupt ending causes the houselights to darken in a hysterical moment, but just when you think the show is over, Professor Ken proclaims there might actually be a way to bring him back, causing the stage lights to come back on, revealing the crew already cleaning the stage.

The fake-out ending, complete with Professor Ken’s revelation and the crew’s hasty return to the stage, is a prime example of the show’s impeccable comedic timing and feels like the film achieves at delivering a play within a play. The side-splittingly finale, featuring Toxie’s resurrection scene involving a glass of water from the Thames (complete with a used condom), perfectly captures the spirit of the original film while adding a fresh, hilarious twist that further enhances this meta-theatrical quality. Through these comedic elements that break the fourth wall, the film succeeds in creating an atmosphere that lets the audience in on the joke and allows us to revel in the campiness occurring on stage.

Overall, The Toxic Avenger: The Musical is a delightfully deranged, over-the-top experience that pays homage to the cult classic film while infusing it with a fresh dose of humor, energy, and incredible talent. Having had the opportunity to see Evil Dead The Musical live, I can confidently say that The Toxic Avenger: The Musical shares a similar spirit of irreverent humor, audience engagement, and over-the-top performances. Both musicals take beloved cult classic films and transform them into unique, unforgettable stage experiences that embrace the campy, outrageous, and unabashedly entertaining.

After having watched The Toxic Avenger: The Musical, my one regret is that I will never have the chance to witness this delightfully deranged musical in person. I feel like I missed out on what would have been an unforgettable live experience.
Although the show is no longer touring, this one filmed performance allows audiences to revel in the hilarity and talent of this production. For fans of campy, unabashedly entertaining musicals, I highly recommend seeking out and experiencing the joyfully twisted journey that is The Toxic Avenger: The Musical.