Saturday 23rd April 19.30
There’s something to be said for going into a venue and a show completely fresh. Aside from listening to the songs of Toxic Avenger (with Music by David Bryan and Lyrics from Joe DiPietro) and being vaguely aware of the story we weren’t really sure what to expect. We’d been promising ourselves a trip to Southwark Playhouse and this seemed the perfect opportunity.
It has to be said at this point that Hermione had been refusing to listen to it as it had been recommended by her mother and the husband had left our company for an evening with Pinter curtesy of the Old Vic.
A minimal, paired down set and very small cast meant that this production was clearly going to rely on the music and the book for setting the scenes and guiding us through.
What followed was a riotous comedy that never takes itself seriously. There are hilarious nods in the direction of Phantom, Les Mis, Rocky Horror and Little Shop of Horrors. It’s a fast paced show that sends itself up, plays to the audience cleverly and had us in tears of laughter for much of the time.
Performance wise no one could have been faulted. Mark ANderson and Hannah Grover are make for a great pairing with entertaining characterisations of Melvin and Sarah. A shout out must surely go to Marc Pickering and Ashley Samuels who have the job of playing multiple characters including Sarah’s female friends, at break neck speed with flawless comic timing. Lizzii Hills as the mayor and Melvin’s mother provided us with a fantastic performance for the face off that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
All in all this is a musical that doesn’t try to be something it’s not. Yes there are messages to be taken from it but it packs in the laughter. It’s cartoon like as indeed it should be without being over the top.
This performance, I believe was the second preview and certainly didn’t feel that way. Is it too early to request a West End run?