Kelly Atkins Morgan pulls off one of the greatest feats of her accomplished singing and acting career during the Hippodrome Theatre’s current summer musical comedy, The Toxic Avenger. She performs a duet with none other than herself!
As the script calls for, Kelly Atkins plays two main characters — Babs Belgoody, the shady mayor of the New Jersey town where the play is set, and Ma Ferd, the nagging mother of the nerd-turned-superhero the play centers around — in The Toxic Avenger.
Things get particularly interesting toward the end of Act 1 when the two gruff females square off in a hairstyling salon. One moment, Atkins portrays the bombastic mayor, complete with a bright auburn bouffant and high heels. The very next moment, the actor reappears from behind a curtain as the cranky housewife in a funky housecoat and oversized platinum locks.
The quick-change stage magic is seamless and includes an ongoing argument between the female characters not to mention song lyrics that include four derogatory terms that no respectable guy (or gal) would ever utter. Judging from the roaring laughter filling the theater, however, the verbal smackdown is perfectly suitable for the Hippodrome summer audience.
“It’s one of the most exhausting things I’ve ever done onstage,” Atkins said. “My cardiovascular activity is pumping full force from the physical energy it takes to not only keep my voice going and my physicality going, but the costume changing -– and there’s such limited time to do it.”
The frenzied scene is just one of the many highlights of a thoroughly entertaining performance by Atkins and the other four actors in the cast of The Toxic Avenger, which is entering its third weekend on the Hippodrome mainstage. The play is scheduled through June 26 but will likely be held over into July because of the buzz it’s generated around Gainesville.