Tag Archives: Benji Sperring

Casting Announced for Toxic Avenger

Toxic Avenger thspyinthestalls

Final casting is announced today for the transfer to the Arts Theatre of the acclaimed rock musical, The Toxic Avenger The Musical.

Following a sold-out UK premiere at Southwark Playhouse, when it received 6 Off West End Award nominations including Best Musical, The Toxic Avenger The Musical will play the Arts Theatre for a strictly limited 10-week season from Thursday 28 September.

Prior to the London season, the production will get its Scottish premiere with a month-long run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Toxic Avenger thspyinthestalls

Joining Mark Anderson, who returns after starring to great acclaim as Melvin/Toxie in the original London production, are: Natalie Hope, Emma Salvo, Oscar Conlon-Morrey and Ché Francis with Peter Bindloss and Sophia Lewis as swings/understudies.

Based on Lloyd Kaufman’s cult 1984 comedy schlock-horror Troma film, The Toxic Avenger, The Toxic Avenger The Musical tells the story of the citizens of Tromaville who are crying out for a hero. Enter nerdy Melvin Ferd the Third, an aspiring earth scientist, determined to clean up the state’s major toxic waste problem. When a corrupt Mayor and her government goons get wind of his plans, they vow to stop this heroic feat. Melvin is attacked and tossed into a vat of toxic waste… transforming him instantly into The Toxic Avenger – New Jersey’s first superhero! Toxie is a 7-foot mutant freak with superhuman strength and a supersized heart to match. His aims are to save heavily polluted New Jersey, end global warming, win the heart of the prettiest (blindest) librarian in town – and get home in time for dinner! Prepare to laugh, scream and sing to songs including ‘Who Will Save New Jersey?” “Get the Geek”, “Thank God She’s Blind” “Hot Toxic Love” and “Choose Me, Oprah!” as ‘Toxie’ rocks the house and saves the day!

Mark Anderson (Melvin/Toxie)
Previous theatre includes: The Toxic Avenger The Musical (Southwark Playhouse); Stiles & Drewe’s Three Little Pigs (International tour); The Book of Mormon Original West End cast (Prince of Wales Theatre); Love Me Tender (National tour); Once Upon A Mattress (Union Theatre); Legally Blonde (National tour); Mary Poppins (National tour); Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The Boy Friend (West End); You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Tabard Theatre).
Natalie Hope (Mayor)
Previous theatre includes: Sweet Charity (Manchester Royal Exchange); Legally Blonde (Leicester Curve Theatre); The Commitments (Palace Theatre, West End); Our House (Savoy Theatre, West End); Sister Act (UK tour); Evita (UK tour); Disney’s High School Musical (UK tour); Fame (Shafesbury Theatre, West End and UK tour); Don’t Stop Believing (UK tour); Rocky Horror Show (UK tour); Laughter in the Rain (UK tour); Beyond the Barricade (UK tour).
Emma Salvo (Sarah)
Previous theatre includes: Holy Crap (King’s Head Theatre), Grease (Royal Caribbean), Newsrevue (Canal Cafe Theatre), Sincerely, Mr Toad (UK tour).
Oscar Conlon-Morrey (White Dude)
Oscar has just graduated and is making his professional debut.
Ché Francis (Black Dude)
Ché has just graduated and is making his professional debut.
The Toxic Avenger The Musical is the brainchild of the Tony Award-winning creative team behind the smash hit West End musical Memphis, Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, an original founding member and keyboardist/vocalist for rock giants, Bon Jovi.
Creative team: Director: Benji Sperring. Musical Director: Alex Beetschen. Designer: takis. Lighting Designer: Nic Farman. Choreographer: Lucie Pankhurst. Sound Designer: Andrew Johnson.,
Produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment and Derek Nicol and Paul Walden for Flying Entertainment.
Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.



Arts Theatre thespyinthestalls



Holy Crap – 2*

Holy Crap

King’s Head Theatre

Opening Night – 13th June 2017




“fleeting moments of entertainment within its daunting 135 minute run-time”


The unholy love-child of Jerry Springer the Opera and Rocky Horror Picture Show, Holy Crap feels like a sequel to a celebrated B-Movie, desperately trying to reach the status of cult classic through an endless tirade of Carry-On sex jokes. In this tiresome ‘comedy’, the Heather Brothers’ work returns to the stage, directed by Benji Sperring at the Kings Head Theatre, the home of some of the best fringe theatre in London. Attempting a farcical indictment of the role of sex and consumerism in modern media, Holy Crap mutilates an interesting concept with a limp meandering narrative and musical numbers that imitate a sexed-up version of lift muzak.

Holy Crap follows the story of a pay-per-view religious channel, run by a motley crew of scheming conmen. As the televised religious fanaticism popular in the states fails to capture the attention of the British public, the frontman of the group, the ‘hallelujah cowboy’ Bobby de la Ray (John Addison) and his team turn G.O.D. TV, run by the very British and genuinely religious Destiny and Rex, into a thinly-veiled hard-core porn channel.

Unfortunately, the cast seemed to be still finding their feet in this performance, for characters that rely on charisma and confidence, generally the performances felt lacklustre and apologetic making the comic moments much less gratifying. However, specific mention must go to Rachel Marwood (Clarissa La Fayette) who’s standout comic performance carried the show through its more trying times.

Though the majority of the songs are generally forgettable patter numbers, inundated with biblical innuendo, vocal performances were excellent and the voices of Rachel Marwood and Letitia Hector are truly stunning to behold, leaving much of the audience slack-jawed. John Addison (Bobby) and Arvid Larsen (Rex) live up to the excellence of their credits with their vocal performances, howevers the characters’ lack of depth leaves them seeming caricatured by a rather unsteady hand.

Sperring’s direction is clear and distinct, taking full advantage of the intimacy of the space, the more interactive sections of the piece were certainly the most enjoyed, but his work is largely undermined by the amateur and derivative feel of the writing.

With Lucie Pankhurst’s cheeky choreography and some glowing moments of witty dialogue, Holy Crap provides fleeting moments of entertainment within its daunting 135 minute run-time, but in its critique of a world that holds ‘style over substance’, the Heather Brothers’ new musical mistakes its own failings for satire.


Reviewed by Tasmine Airey




Holy Crap

is at the King’s Head Theatre until 2nd July