This ain’t your father’s beach party
If your idea of 60’s B-movies include Beach Blanket Bingo and Gidget, Off the Wall Theatre has a shock for you. Following in the footsteps of Die Mommie Die and The Lady in Question,”Dale Gutzman goes back to the odd-ball comedy of writer Charles Busch to bring Malibu to the Midwest.
Psycho Beach Party turns Gidget on her head, gives her at least five different personalities and a dark past.
Chicklet Forrest (Liz Mistele) wants to hang with the cool kids and surfing dudes. She needs a board and with the help of her BFF Bernadine (Kurtis Witzlsteiner playing one of the best drag roles I’ve seen), secretly takes surf lessons and gains the attention of the boys. Then Anne Bowan appears, and all hell breaks loose.
Mistele is the perfect beach blanket psycho, jerking between the sweet doe-eyed Chicklet, the domanatrix Anne, a male model, an AM radio therapist and a ghetto cashier at the Safeway.
Chicklet’s conflict is stirred by her mother, played in pure camp style by Dear Ruthie. Mrs. Forrest is an over-the-top single mother who tries to keep Chicklet’s mind off boys and sex by rubbing her face in an old grungy jock strap. Yeah, it is that in your face, but you’ll love it.
This isn’t a show for children, with the language and content as salty as the ocean painted on the stage curtain, but that didn’t stop a cast member’s grandma from shaking her tail feathers in the audience as the beach music infected our minds. The intimate OTWT stage puts the audience in the middle of the action and encourages you to dance in the sand with the cast.
Psycho Beach Party is currently playing at Off The Wall Theatre, and runs through September 12. In the waning days of summer, it is a warm blast from the past with enough twists to make you ask “Annette who?” To get your tickets for the party, grab your swimsuits (no Speedos please) and click here.