Review: ‘Psycho Beach Party’ is crazy good theater

From left, Amy Meyer plays Marvel Ann, Joey C. Pelletier plays Chicklet, and Elizabeth Battey plays Berdine. Credit: Debut Cinematic/Karen Ladany
From left, Amy Meyer plays Marvel Ann, Joey C. Pelletier plays Chicklet, and Elizabeth Battey plays Berdine. Credit: Debut Cinematic/Karen Ladany

“Psycho Beach Party,” Charles Busch’s charmingly demented homage to ’60s beach party films, feels right at home in the eccentric hands of Happy Medium Theatre Company and Heart and Dagger Productions.

Their co-production of the long-time cult favorite manages to both capture the hilarious essence of the play and truly embody the almost indefinable lowbrow kitsch that distinguishes Busch’s work from mere comic camp.

“Psycho Beach Party” (which was also adapted into a 2000 movie of the same name, starring Amy Adams) tells the story of a group of teenage girls looking for love on Malibu Beach. At the head of the pack is sexy Marvel Ann (Amy Meyer), who has no problem scoring a hunk and is the alpha babe among her pals, nerdy Berdine (Elizabeth Battey) and flat-chested, misfit “Chicklet” a.k.a. Florence (Joey C. Pelletier), who aren’t nearly as lucky in love.

When Chicklet finally begins to turn heads, it’s not because she’s hit the beach in a bikini. The aspiring surfer suffers from multiple personality disorder and every single one of her — many — personalities show up to the big luau.

Pelletier is blisteringly funny as he morphs swiftly from sweet Chicklet into his various other personas — which include a dominatrix, black check-out girl, radio talk show hostess, accountant and male model — and back again. He could easily turn this role into a cross-dressing sideshow but instead opts to play his part with great physical comedy, subtle gestures and touching authenticity.

Audrey Lynn Sylvia delivers an outrageously funny turn as Chicklet’s mother, Mrs. Forest, while Mike Budwey shines as surf legend Kanaka.

While Battey is superb as Berdine, she needs to learn to project, as some of her funniest lines were, unfortunately, nearly inaudible. Francisco Marquez also falls a bit short in his flat portrayal of beach stud Star Cat, a role he might have played with more bravado.

Despite these minor shortcomings, “Psycho Beach Party” might just be one of the best bashes of the summer. There’s not a lot of space on this blanket , however, so make sure to arrive early.

If you go

Through August 3
The Factory Theatre
791 Tremont St., Boston
$20
HappyMediumTheatre.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll is still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…