$15 Down the Toilet
This year the choices boiled down to visiting one of Portland's several haunted houses or going to see Toxic Avenger: The Musi-kill produced by a company called Troma Entertainment. B decided upon the latter.
I knew next to nothing about this “musi-kill” and kept my expectations at a minimum. Walking into the 90-seater space where the performance was to be, I was reminded of the venue where one of my favorite Chicago theater ensembles, the Factory Theater, performed. (Note that I provide a link to the Factory and not to Troma—this is a hint.)
The resemblance to the Factory’s space was pret’ near the best thing about the performance. As soon as the guy billed as the “brains” behind the “musical endeavor” strode on to the stage in an unflatteringly tight leather coat, I could see my $15 swirling down the crapper. I cringed as he invited the audience to ignore the fourth wall (a cardinal sin in my book) and practically begged on bended knee for approval. Oy.
The tissue-paper-thin plot can be summarized thus: Greasy bullies and trampy women who run over children for kicks terrorize a janitor in a mullet wig. Said janitor gets dunked in a barrel of toxic waste and is transformed into a Hulk-like superhero. He then falls in love with a blind woman and uses his superpowerful mop to vanquish the bully guys and the trampy women.
Actually, my synopsis makes it sound like the thing had promise, and in more talented hands it might have been funny. But it wasn’t. Not. At. All. And I am a person who delights in juvenile humor. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed Anchorman and will be first in line when the next Austin Powers comes out. Toxic Avenger would have worked if the writer had had the chops to make it a satire, but satire was totally absent from this play. To make up for the utter (or should I say "udder") lack of cleverness, the play relied very heavily on T & A. Whenever the narrative lagged (often), one of the scantily clad “actresses” whipped off her top. Fine. I don’t care. But it’s not theater. It’s locker room or strip joint. We were also treated--several times--to the hairy ass of one of the male actors.
Oh, and I shouldn’t hold this against the actors who were working so very hard, but we were sitting in the front row, i.e., about two feet from the actors, and I couldn't help but notice they were quite whiffy.
It did seem that other people in the audience enjoyed the performance, but as the leather-clad playwright himself pointed out at the very beginning, the musi-kill was apt to seem far funnier if you were drunk or stoned. (I was neither.) Nothing like admitting at the outset that you're aiming low.
It sucked and I want my $15 and my hour and a half back!