Oct. 27, 2014
“Sex on the beach?”
As audience members entered the venue, adults were asked by two cast members dressed in vintage swimwear standing on wooden docks if they would like a mixed drink with an umbrella.
I already had a good idea of what this play might entail. Directed by Kevin Landis, “Psycho Beach Party” opened Oct. 23 and will be running through Nov. 9 at the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater in University Hall.
With the stage floor covered in sand, audience members were able to choose between the normal levels of seating or a cushioned seat “on the beach,” a chance to go barefoot, wear a leis necklace and be on stage with the actors.
“Psycho Beach Party,” follows a teenage girl, Chicklet (Doug Atkins) who has a dream to be a surfer like the local boys, but has to fi ght the idea of the young lady her mother, Mrs. Forrest (Kate Berry), wants her to become.
Although a part of the joke is that a man is portraying an awkward and quirky teenage girl, Chicklet became an annoying and somewhat disturbing character.
Atkins’ portrayal of Chicklet and Ann Boman, two of this character’s personalities, fulfilled stereotypes of girls from that era and made for quite a few laughs with a lot of over the top expressions and jokes.
The audience is introduced to several more characters throughout the story such as Kanaka (Jordan Matthews) who is the local surfing legend of Malibu, California who has long hair and wears Japanese robes and famous actress Bettina Barnes (Jessica Parnello) who is a spoiled, rich and self-serving celebrity.
Audience members were cautioned that this performance is not suitable for people 16 years or younger, but they seemed to get a laugh of the consistent sexual innuendos ridiculously performed by almost every actor or actress.
The characters were an adaption from Drag Star Charles Busch’s 1960s characters and aside from characters that didn’t speak much, main characters such as Chicklet and Kanaka over-dramatized the stereotypes of “nerdy” adolescent girls and hippie surfer dudes.
Of course, the idea of the play is to emphasize their character’s role that was often seen in old films of the 20th century, so the old comedy could not be judged based on today’s idea of funny.
The story continues on, showing the inner conflicts between characters and the mystery of someone in Malibu going around the beaches who shaves people from head to toe.
Part of the comedic relief was Mrs. Forrest, who portrayed an uptight, man-hating and Christian mother that did reminded the audience of older movies with stereotypical house moms who controlled their children.
The stage of sand, the backdrop of iron-board surfboards and painted ocean “waves” created the perfect 1960s California surfi ng movie atmosphere for these actors.
The music and use of stage made the performance enjoyable.
Although I am not a fan of a few of the stereotypes that were portrayed (such as anyone who is from California automatically means they surf and say “totally” all of the time), the end revealed an underlying meaning of rights for the LGBT community, women and purpose of life.
The romantic interests changing throughout the play added a comical and entertaining part.
“Psycho Beach Party,” will be performed Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with no intermission. Saturday matinees will be at 2 p.m. and on Sundays the performance will begin at 4 p.m.
Rating: 3.5/5 Surfboards