Psycho Beach Party
by Charles Busch

a production of TAGLARC, Toronto, Ontario
June 26 to July 14, 1996

A Stage Door Review by Jim Lingerfelt and Roger Kershaw
(Your comments and reviews are also welcome. Please?)

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 more clearly.
-----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 didn’t break VLOS’s 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: "It’s like two Chicklets in one box."). But not just two, two, two twits in one…Chicklet’s mind contains a dozen or more alter-egos, including vamping domintatrix Anne Bowman, soul-sister Safeway-checker Tye-Lee, male model heartthrob Steve—all triggered with split-second transitions and hilariously effected by MacDonald.
-----Chicklet’s 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-weren’t-so-lonely Bettina Barnes (Julie Sheppard).
-----Impossible to define, it’s 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 year’s Pride Week which its opening June 26 celebrates in Toronto. For tickets, $15 to 22, call TicketKing (416-872-1212).


TAGLARC.

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. line.jpg

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