L to R:Michael Dick, Jonathan Benson, Meghan Dickerson, Patrick Payne, Jimmy Maize
L to R: Jonathan Benson, Garrick Garcia, Patrick Payne
L to R: Kirstin Walcott, Garrick Garcia
L to R: Garrick Garcia, Raymie Chavez, Bradd Howard
L to R: Jonathan Benson, Bradd Howard, Patrick Payne
Aug 03-Aug 11, 2001
'Psycho Beach Party' is a blast
- By Cheryl Thornburg, Sun News C1 [August 3, 2001]
August 3, 2001 Sun News C1
'Psycho Beach Party' is a blast
It seems fitting that No Strings Theatre Company's first season in the Black Box Theatre opened and closes "on the beach."
Its current show, "Psycho Beach Party," is an insane romp by New York playwright Charles Busch, who has managed to poke fun at "Beach Blanket-Bingo"-type movies as well as' 'Psycho" and "The Three Faces of Eve," all in one hilariously funny script.
But the beach is not the only link between the season opener "Seascape," by Edward Albee. and the current production. Both feature the immensely talented and versatile Garrick Garcia, who mesmerized audiences with his uncanny performance as the male lizard in "Seascape."
In "Psycho Beach Party" Garcia plays Chicklet, a young beach girl who wants to learn surf, but as they say in commercials &emdash; "but wait, that's not all!"
There are many sides to Chicklet's personality and each one is funnier and more entertaining than the next. With Chicklet, it's a lot more than double your pleasure.
Chicklet may be what holds be story together, but there are no weak links in this cast.
Each actor complements and supports the others, providing one of the most hilarious evenings of entertainment in local theater history. But be forewarned &emdash; this is adult entertainment not intended for those under 18.
There is no nudity, but sexual slang terms and gestures make this unsuitable for the younger set; and if you can't handle men in drag, this show may not be for you.
Hanging out with Chicklet at Malibu Beach in 1962 are some of the most over-the-top, outrageous characters to inhabit any local stage.
Chicklet's girlfriends Marvel Ann and Berdine may be super-stereotypes, but ones that are very familiar.
Bradd Howard outdoes himself as the oversexed Marvel Ann, and Raymie Chavez uses her considerable comedic talents to create a Berdine that is immensely likable and memorable.
The beach studs, also stereotypes (but not on steroids &emdash;it's still the early 60s), are played by Jonathan Benson and Patrick Payne.
Payne plays Star Cat, a handsome surfer who is somewhat overshadowed by Kanaka, the undisputed king of the beach, played by Benson. Both actors prove that they are equally strong in comedic as well as more serious roles. Payne stunned audiences with his performance as a disturbed Mormon father in the Las Cruces Community Theatre's one act play festival earlier this season and Benson turned in a moving performance as the younger actor in "A Life in the Theater" at the Black Box.
Kristin Walcott plays Chicklet's Mommie-Dearest mother with style. Her delivery is as crisp and sunny as her freshly-pressed, yellow Donna-Reed shirtwaist.
Walcott is also costume designer for the show.
To add glamour and mystery to the mix, Bettina Barnes, a runaway up-and-coming movie star turns up on the beach. As Bettina, Meghan Dickerson seems to take all the starlets of the era and roll them into one delightful package &emdash; a little bit haughty but actually nice.
Rounding out the beach party are two talented young men: Michael Dick as YoYo and Jimmy Maize as Provoloney. Their roles, which could be inconsequential if not played well, add another zany dimension to this utterly entertaining spoof.
Their guys-next-door are two of the most believable characters in the show.
Hosting this "Beach Party" is director Tom Smith, who has cast the play to perfection. Smith is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at New Mexico State University He directed "Peter Pan" and "Much Ado About Nothing" for American Southwest Theatre Company at NMSU.
If 'Psycho Beach Party" is what he does on his summer vacation. I can't wait to see what he does next.
As with every show I have seen at this venue, the audience gets a complete package &emdash; set, sound and costumes are all an integral part of the production.
The set, designed by Jim Billings, is minimalist, but sturdy enough to handle the frenetic action of the play.
The lighting by Zerrin Veldman also plays a vital role in this show, and costumes by Kristin Walcott evoke nostalgia, with just enough exaggeration to fit the madcap mood of the script.
For Baby Boomers, the music will bring back the carefree days of their youth while the play takes them on a nostalgic, if somewhat skewed, trip down Memory Lane.
Performances of "Psycho Beach Party' are today and Saturday and Aug. 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. There will be additional late-night performances at 11 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, and Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10 and 11.
Ticket prices are $7 regular admission and.$6 for students and seniors over 65.
Last Saturday's performance was almost sold out. so reservations are recommended. Reservations are available by calling (505) 523-1223 or online at www.zianet.com/nstcbbt
No seating plan has been posted.