Fringe Musical Theatre review: The Toxic Avenger

The Toxic Avenger | Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) | Star rating: ***

This loud, brash, unapologetically daft and derivative late night musical theatre adaptation of 1980s b-movie The Toxic Avenger makes no bones about its aspiration to follow in the footsteps of cult cartoony rock’n’roll musicals The Rocky Horror Show and Little Shop of Horrors with a splash of Urinetown in its irreverent, knowing mix.

Once again, New Jersey is the butt of the joke. The town of Tromaville has been chosen as the site of a toxic waste dump run by evil corporation Good Earth with the collusion of the ultra-vampy town mayor.

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But these environmental shenanigans are really just gloopy window dressing behind the central love story between blind librarian Sarah and town nerd Melvin who is transformed into the swamp thing superhero of the title following an incidence of industrial harassment and sets out to win his love and vanquish corrupt business interests with one eye poking out of his engorged skull.

The five-strong cast are more of a seven-nation army, throwing themselves into the thick of the silliness with barnstorming vocals, over-the-top performances and heroic routines, with special kudos going to the two-man chorus who inhabit the quick-change roles of cops, jocks, docs, suits, Latino beauty therapists and Sarah’s bezzie mates with unfaltering gusto.

• Until 28 August.