Theatre Review | Psycho Beach Party is Exactly What The Name Says

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Saturday, June 25, 2016 

under Culture by Claire Lily Squire


If you’re into men in drag and blow up palm trees then Urban Aphrodite’s production of Psycho Beach Party by Charles Busch is just the play for you.

 


 

The play tells the story of Chicklet Forrest, a teenage tomboy who desperately wants to be part of the Malibu Beach surf crowd in the early 1960’s. One small problem for Chicklet; she has split personalities. Among them are a black check-out girl, a radio talk how hostess, a male model named Steve and the accounting firm of Edelman and Edelman. That's right, an entire accounting firm. But her most dangerous alter ego is a sexually voracious vixen named Ann Bowman who seems intent on removing body hair from anyone she meets. (Trust me, you need to see the play to understand that one.)

 


 

Psycho Beach Party is an ambitious play for an amateur production but the cast and crew of Urban Aphrodite did a smashing job. A gang of Malibu beach bums is hard to come by in Shanghai, and while the American accents did sometimes falter, the general atmosphere created was one of summer-time beach fun.

 

In particular Kirsty Grace, who played Chicklet Forrest, really stood out with some bold and exuberant multi-identity-tasking. Grace may have stolen the show, but Liam McDermott, who played The Great Kanaka, and Luke Nestler, who played Starcat, gave sterling performances in their supporting roles.

 


 


 

For opening night everything seemed to go to plan, the cast seemed confident in their roles and the scene changes were pretty smooth. It did help, I think, that most of the set was inflatable. What can really go wrong with a blow up fish?

 

I would absolutely recommend anyone going to see the show bring their own pillow. I am being dead serious. In true beach fashion, the audience has to sit on the floor throughout the show. Unfortunately the floor isn’t sand, it’s rather unforgiving floor boards.

 


 

This play is an official Pride event, and while it doesn’t exactly explore the difficulties facing the LGBT community in the 1960’s, it is a good laugh. There are budding romances between all sexes and the tallest man you have ever seen in a blonde wig and 6-inch heels.  If you’re looking for a chilled out way to support ShanghaiPRIDE then an evening sat on floorboards with a pint listening to 1960’s Malibu slang is a pretty decent way to go about it.

 

Psycho Beach Party has its last showing on Saturday June 25. You can find details of the event here.

 

****

 

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