The Toxic Avenger

New Jersey's first superhero takes the stage in this rock 'n' roll comedy.

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Set in the fictional town or Tromaville, Exit 13B in New Jersey, The Toxic Avenger tells the story of Melvin Ferd the Third, a hopeless dweeb with bulky glasses who loves science almost as much as he loves Sarah, the local (and very blind) librarian. When Melvin discovers the mayor has been littering the town with radioactive waste, he storms into her office and vows to expose her. But not before her flunkies get a hold of him and toss him into a vat of toxic waste. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and Melvin emerges from the goo as a green mutant with superhuman strength! Now the town knows him as Toxie, New Jersey’s first superhero, and he’s a man (or thing) on a mission, out to crush some heads, save Tromaville and, of course, win the heart of that blind chick.

Should I See It?

What Is The Toxic Avenger Like?
As if the plot synopsis didn’t clue you in, The Toxic Avenger is a rock musical that’s entirely serious about being completely silly. Like the movie Airplane!, the gags-per-minute ratio is through the roof, and the cast leaps freely over the top, mugging it up and munching scenery with relish. Even funnier is watching the actors play several different roles, changing from cops to backup dancers to hoodlums—sometimes even within the same scene. Throw in some rockin’ tunes co-penned by David Bryan of Bon Jovi, and a spirited audience that thinks it’s completely normal to yell at actors while they’re performing onstage (“Don’t do that, girl!,” “Man, that’s nasty!”) and you’ve got the New York theater equivalent of a midnight movie. Even arbiters of respectable theat-ah should have a good time.

Is The Toxic Avenger Good for Kids?
Not for the under-10 crowd, since once Melvin becomes Toxie, his new superhuman strength creates a whole lot of blood and gore. Though it’s carried out in a very cartoony and cheeky and obviously fake fashion, such sights will still probably be too much for the little ones. Ditto for Toxie, who may be a big ol’ sweetie with a heart of gold, but tykes might have a hard time seeing beyond that eyeball hanging out of his deformed face. The show is tailor-made for the high-school set, however, so if you’re cool with your teenagers watching PG-13 movies or even the occasional R-rated flick, chances are they’ll be thanking you for a night they won’t soon forget.

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