Monthly Archive for: ‘June, 2017’

Who knew that toxic waste could evolve into so much fun?

San Jose Stage Company has the musical answer with its production of  “The Toxic Avenger,” adapted from Lloyd Kaufman’s 1984 film.

In the tiny town of Tromaville, N.J., an environmental scientist, the nerdy Melvin Ferd (Will Springhorn Jr.), worries about the barrels of toxic waste from a company called The Good Earth that are showing up all over town.

Determined to learn more about their origin, he goes to the town library, where he meets and is smitten by the attractive blind librarian, Sarah (Courtney Hatcher). She gives him files showing that the company is owned by none other than evil, sexy Mayor Babs Belgoody (Allison F. Rich).

He confronts the mayor, who orders her two thugs to take care of him. They dump him into a vat of toxic waste. Rather than killing him, though, it transforms him into a deformed but strong monster who’s still a good guy and who still loves Sarah.

It’s all quite silly, as evidenced by video designer Vijay M. Rajan’s cartoonish projections.

It’s so silly that only a skilled director like Jonathan Rhys Williams and his multi-talented, five-person cast could successfully pull it off.

While Springhorn as Melvin and Hatcher at Sarah maintain their roles, Rich takes on other roles, primarily Melvin’s ditsy mother, Ma Ferd. Toward the end, she has a hilarious scene in which Mayor Babs and Ma Ferd have a huge spat.

All other roles are ably filled by Joshua Marx and Branden Noel Thomas, called White Man and Black Man, respectively, in the program. Costume designer Ashley Garlick aids in their quick transformations to various characters, some of them women.

Lively choreography by Brett Blankenship and Carmichael “CJ” Blankenship adds to the enjoyment, as does the loud four-member band led by music director Brian Allan Hobbs.

The rock score is by David Bryan, who wrote the lyrics along with book writer Joe DiPietro.

The set by Michael Palumbo, who also did the lighting, features overturned barrels oozing green gunk. Sound is by Steve Schoenbeck.

Running about two hours with one intermission, “The Toxic Avenger” is campy but rewarding entertainment, much like a comic book.

It will continue through July 16 at San Jose Stage Company, 490 S. First St., San Jose. For tickets and information, call (408) 283-7142 or visit