Every once in a while
you just have to see a play that is simply bizarre. One so outrageously
funny, you know there is no ulterior message to divine and define.
If there is a message at all, the playwright makes is so abundantly
clear that nothing short of re-titling the play would say it any
-----In this case the play is Psycho Beach Party and the playwright is Charles Busch. This prolific writer of cult hits holds several distinctions, including Vampire Lesbians of Sodom¸ which, after a five-year run in New York, became the longest running play in Off-Broadway history. Psycho Beach Party hit the boards in 1988 and, though it didnt break VLOSs record, did catch the attention of Kevin Sheard, who has chosen it as the premiere production of the new company, TAGLARC, until July 14 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre of the National Ballet School at 404 Jarvis Street in Toronto.
-----Psycho Beach Party is a clever spoof of the infamous 1960s beach movie craze. This camp adaptation takes place on Malibu beach and hysterically intertwines classic film moments from Gidgit, Psycho, Three Faces of Eve and Spellbound. The plot, if there is one, revolves around 16-year old Florence Forrest (played by Greg Keon MacDonald) and her insatiable quest to become a Surf Queen. Florence (nicknamed "Chicklet" because when the other girls sprouted, and became "chicks," she stayed behind, a skinny "chicklet") has another problem, though: multiple personalities (best line: "Its like two Chicklets in one box."). But not just two, two, two twits in one Chicklets mind contains a dozen or more alter-egos, including vamping domintatrix Anne Bowman, soul-sister Safeway-checker Tye-Lee, male model heartthrob Steveall triggered with split-second transitions and hilariously effected by MacDonald.
-----Chicklets problems stem, of course, from her mother, a Joan Crawford Mommie-Dearest recreation by Gordon MacKeracher. Other characters include the surf bum gang of Frankie Avalon-inspired Starcat (Jake Chalmers), nerdy Provoloney (George Krebs), Yo Yo (Jason Dyson) and surf king Kanaka (Douglas Hurst); assorted airheads and vanity princesses (Lisa Beam, Kerrigan Carbol, Susanne Cooper), Sartre-spouting Berdine (Alana Hock), and B-movie queen and would-be-recluse-if-it-werent-so-lonely Bettina Barnes (Julie Sheppard).
-----Impossible to define, its a wacky mix of Saturday Night Live and existentialist philosophy. And it does have a message: "We are all family," coincidentally the theme of this years Pride Week which its opening June 26 celebrates in Toronto. For tickets, $15 to 22, call TicketKing (416-872-1212).
The Toronto Association for Gay and Lesbian Arts, Recreation
and Culture is a not-for-profit organization that was established
in 1996 by Kevin Sheard and Dave Ross. It is also the umbrella
organization for The Pink Toronto Awards. Psycho Beach Party
is TAGLARC's first theatre presentation. Currently, other
TAGLARC theatre projects under construction include Red Scare
On Sunset by Charles Busch and The Taffetas, a Musical
Journey Through the Fabulus Fifties.
----- If you are interested in working with or joining TAGLARC, please call 416-960-8267.
-----TAGLARC is a member of the Toronto Theatre Alliance.