Vertigo Theatre Productions bring the UK première of two plays by
American writer Charles Busch to the tiny theatre space within Taurus Bar. The
first - reviewed here is Psycho Beach Party, is a camp homage to the early sixties and the teen
beach movies of the era. The audience is taken back to a more innocent time
played out to a soundtrack of The Beach Boys tracks.
Hepworth has created a play with boundless energy and enjoyment. The plot is
suitably camp; sixteen year old tomboy 'Chicklet', wants to surf, but surfing
is a boy thing and she is left not quite fitting in anywhere. However things
take a sinister turn with a dangerous psychopath on the loose who knocks
people out and shaves all their body hair.
The entire cast are
all excellent and full of vitality. In such an enclosed space a dance number is
tight, but the cast work around each other with skill. The small space works
well for scenes where the characters are inside but does detract slightly
from exterior scenes on the beach.
The two shining lights, though, are the two male
actors playing female characters, Brad Stoloff as Chicklet and Liam
Grunshaw as Chicklet's mother. Both create stunning stereotypical
characters - combining the humour of a man in drag with brilliant acting.
Stoloff shows amazing physical expression but this is surpassed by his
ability to change voice and body language at the flick of a
Psycho Beach Party could never be considered as high
brow entertainment, but if an evening of camp fun is appealing then
you won't do better than this show.