Entertainment » Theatre

Psycho Beach Party

by Steven  Skelley
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Feb 7, 2012
Chris Laney (YoYo), Christopher Cerimele (Provoloney), Walter LeBlanc (Chicklet), David Dick (Kanaka) and Chris Ivers (Star Cat)
Chris Laney (YoYo), Christopher Cerimele (Provoloney), Walter LeBlanc (Chicklet), David Dick (Kanaka) and Chris Ivers (Star Cat)  (Source:Titusville Playhouse)

What happens when you take the silliness of a Gidget beach movie and mix in a healthy dose of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" erotic insanity? You'd get the Emma's Attic Titusville Playhouse production of the Charles Busch indie classic "Psycho Beach Party."

For those unfamiliar with Charles Busch, he is the author of many Off-Broadway productions including "Psycho Beach Party" and "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom," which ran for five years in New York and became one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. Both plays were made into movies.

"Psycho Beach Party" is the story of little Chicklet Forrest, portrayed in drag at Emma's Attic by Walter LeBlanc. Chicklet is a Gidget-like character straight out of the 1960s beach themed B-movies. She is a late blooming, wide-eyed innocent trying to fit in with the cool girls and the hot surfer dudes that populate her favorite beach hangout.

But, in a reality only Charles Busch could create, Chicklet is also a schizophrenic who spontaneously morphs into 1) a sassy African American store cashier 2) a male model 3) a talk show hostess and 4) Ann Bowman -- a sex crazed dominatrix who has a plan to rule the world.

If that isn't enough of a twist, Chicklet may be a serial killer who shaves the pubic hair off her victims when she kills them. Walter LeBlanc's drag Chicklet is the comedic highlight of the show.

Lauren Purdy portrays Chicklet’s best friend Berdine with spunk and a nerdy likeability. She is new to Titusville Playhouse but if this performance is any indication she is a great find.

We get a little insight into Chicklet's mind when we are introduced to her mother. Mrs. Forrest is a no-nonsense, battering ram of a woman with a Godzilla-sized mistrust of the opposite sex. She is so determined to protect her little Chicklet from the evil desires of men that she threatens Chicklet's surfer dude pals with lines like, "I am gonna tear your peckers off!"

In one scene, she beats Chicklet with a "pecker belt" -- more commonly known to those outside the Charles Busch universe as a jock strap. Christina Robinson, recently retired from Astronaut High School, is a scene-stealing genius as Mrs. Forrest: the mother-from-hell.

Chris Ivers portrays the cool-cat surfer Star Cat, who just happens to be earning a degree in psychiatry. This is a quite a coincidence and asset when one of your best pals may be a schizophrenic serial killer. Ivers delivered one of the most shocking and laugh inducing lines in the play when sharing some very intimate details of his favorite lovemaking memories.

Lauren Purdy portrays Chicklet's best friend Berdine with spunk and a nerdy likeability. She is new to Titusville Playhouse but if this performance is any indication she is a great find.

Other performances include David Dick as surfing legend and sometime ladies lingerie wearer Kanaka; Sarah Wollett as B-movie actress Bettin; Leigh Taylor as Chicklet's other pal Dee Dee; Katie Dudgeon as Marvel Ann the pubicly-shaved surviving victim of the slasher; Christopher Cerimele as the blonde, pony-tailed surfer Provoloney; and Christopher Laney as the soon-to-be-gay surfer Yo Yo.

The play has everything, including a gay civil rights monologue with the cast humming choir-like in the background. But Director Nancy Wolford warns everyone not to take the show's subject matter too seriously. "I hope you didn't come for anything serious, because it is not. It is a lot of silly fun."

"Psycho Beach Party" runs through February 11 at the Emma Parrish Theater/Emma’s Attic in the Titusville Playhouse, 301 Julia Street, Titusville. For info or tickets call 321-268-3711 or visit http://titusvilleplayhouse.com

Steven Skelley is a published author of several nonfiction works and the novella The Gargoyle Scrolls. He has been a newspaper columnist, travel writer, news writer, music director, creative arts director, theater reviewer and tennis instructor.


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