BWW Reviews: Stray Dog Theatre's Riotous Production of PSYCHO BEACH PARTY

February 13
4:09 PM 2013

BWW-Reviews-Stray-Dog-Theatres-Riotous-Production-of-PSYCHO-BEACH-PARTY-20010101Playwright Charles Busch has created a number of entertaining and offbeat works, and Psycho Beach Party is no exception. Focusing on the exploits of the Gidget-like "Chicklet Forrest", the play combines elements that evoke the psychological horrors of Alfred Hitchcock, while also poking fun at teenage surfer films and the slasher genre. It's a zany and outlandish potpourri that's a compelling laugh riot.

Chicklet wants desperately to fit in with the 'in crowd' at the beach, a group her domineering mother would prefer she stay away from. But, as typical teenagers are want to do, she disobeys Mrs. Forrest and attempts to hang with the surfers. At the same time, Chicklet is suffering from a multiple personality disorder which finds her assuming a number of intriguing roles as she strives to get out from under the thumb of her domineering mother.

Ben Watts does commendable work in drag as the skinny and flat-chested Chicklet, and Stephen Peirick is a scream as his mother. Anna Skidis contributes nicely as her buddy Berdine, and Suzanne Burke makes a good impression as Marvel Ann, while Sarajane Alverson does fine work as Bettina Barnes. The wacky surfers are played by Paul S. Cooper (Kanaka), Paul Edwards (Yo-Yo), Jake Ferree (Provoloney), and Zach Wachter (Star Cat).

Justin Been, who directs, also created the cool set and sound design, and he does a stellar job with each task. He's aided by the clever costumes of Alexandra Scibetta Quigley, and the lighting design of Tyler Duenow.

This clever and amusing production continues through February 23, 2013 at Stray Dog Theatre.


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Chris Gibson Chris has been active in the local theatre scene for over 30 years. In addition to his acting work, he's also contributed as a director, writer and composer. Though, initially a film buff, he grew tired of the sanitized, PG-13 rated blockbusters that were being continually shoved down his throat by the studios. An opportunity to review theatre in St. Louis has grown exponentially with the sudden explosion of venues and talent in the region. He now finds himself obsessed with witnessing those precious, electric moments that can only happen live, on stage.


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