The Toxic Avenger & Showboat both get a legendary ★★★★★ from us

The Toxic Avenger & Showboat both get a legendary ★★★★★ from us

We give ★★★★★ to two jaw-dropping new musicals in London right now: Showboat & The Toxic Avenger.

★★★★★ Showboat | New London Theatre | Booking until 27 Jan 2017

A surprise hit, this old-school musical packs an emotional punch with its soulful sounds of the South.

We saw Showboat on a miserably wet Friday evening, to say we weren’t in the mood is an understatement. However, as soon as the overwhelming Ol’ Man River overture fired us up, our hearts melted and we were hooked on this vintage gem beautifully revived by Daniel Evans and his wonderful team.

The story of Captain Andy Hawkes’ showboat and the family who live onboard rolls along like a mighty river and focuses on the love life of his daughter Nola. The whole ensemble are pumped with energy and gave intimate & authentic performances. Stand-out talents included the deep soulful voice of Emmanuel Kojo (as Joe) & the showstopping Rebecca Trehearn as Julie, who sang our favourite number ‘Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man’.

The set and production values are a tribute to the painstaking creativity of those working in theatre in 2016. The boat itself is brought to life with vivid lighting & colour, and we urge you to find a more glittery set than this side of Chicago (the show, not the city).

Overall, Showboat convinced us that some revivals are worth rediscovering – and that the trad-musical can be an epic treat!

★★★★★ The Toxic Avenger | Southwark Playhouse | Until 21 May | £25/20

A hilarious night out, with catchy rock opera credentials & goofy comic book humour

Joe DiPietro and David Bryan hit London with a toxic waste musical oozing laughs & earworms aplenty. 

Melvin is the nerd who must save Tromaville – a town soon to become a toxic waste dump in New Jersey – from the stinky stuff. Along the way he falls for the girl, maims some folks, and discovers himself.

So far, so musiCAL, but The Toxic Avenger is a hoot largely due to the tongue in cheek rock songwriting, outrageous humour , and zany, schizophrenic performances from Marc Pickering & Ashley Samuels.

The humour has been updated in a clever way for this production, with an outrageous ‘Anne Frank’ joke thrown in for good measure!

The Toxic Avenger flits over the edge of political correctness with lots of visual gags about a blind girl, sex & drugs – this isn’t for the easily offended, but  is a raucous comedy night out unlike any other.

Rupert Dannreuther

About 

I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.