Korda's Psycho Beach PartyThe Kordazone Theatre was transformed into a nostalgic playground this weekend with the return of “Psycho Beach Party,” a production that cleverly spoofs the beach and slasher flicks of the 1960s. Korda Artistic Productions has once again tapped into the vein of classic camp with this revival, offering audiences a delightful mix of humor and retro flair.

“Psycho Beach Party” has a rich history that spans decades. Originally premiering in 1987 at The Players Theatre in New York City, the play was Charles Busch’s comedic take on the beach movies of the 1960s, blending elements of psychological thrillers and slasher films into a hilarious satire of early ‘60s pop culture. Its original title, “Gidget Goes Psychotic,” humorously nods to the Gidget franchise, though it was changed for legal reasons.


The play’s ability to parody and pay tribute to a bygone era of cinema while exploring themes of identity and transformation has allowed it to remain relevant and beloved by audiences. Over the years, “Psycho Beach Party” has seen various adaptations, including a cult film in 2000, and has been staged by numerous theatre companies, each bringing their own flair to the production. Korda Artistic Productions, with a history of embracing Charles Busch’s works, has revisited the play for the second time in its 20-year history, showcasing its enduring appeal and the timeless humor that continues to resonate with audiences.

“Psycho Beach Party” unfurls a story as unpredictable as the ocean tides themselves, set against the backdrop of a sun-kissed beach in the 1960s. The central character, Chicklet Forrest, is a teenage surfer girl with dreams of riding the waves, but she’s not your typical beach movie heroine. As Chicklet grapples with her surfboard, she also navigates the tumultuous waters of her own psyche, revealing multiple personalities that add layers of complexity to the plot. The beach serves as a stage for an array of colorful characters, from the hunky surf instructor to the bookish best friend, each with their own quirks and secrets. As the story progresses, the audience is treated to a comedic mystery that intertwines the innocence of beach life with the suspense of a psychological thriller, all while maintaining a playful tone that keeps the darker elements at bay.

Korda's Psycho Beach PartyThe creative team’s dedication to the era is evident in every aspect of the show, from the music and costumes to the set design, which this time draws inspiration from the whimsical world of Warner Brothers cartoons. The decision to cast Bettina in the traditional drag role adds another layer of humor and homage to the period’s cinematic traditions.

While the play does indulge in the exaggerated sexuality characteristic of the genre it parodies, it’s handled with a light touch, ensuring the production remains a playful romp rather than veering into the risqué. The adult humor and language are present but serve the purpose of amplifying the comedic shock value that fans of the genre will appreciate.

In the sun-soaked world of “Psycho Beach Party” at the Kordazone Theatre, the lead characters are a vibrant ensemble that brings the quirky script to life. Marnie Gare shines as Chicklet Forrest, the perky surfer girl with a surprising depth of personalities, delivering a performance that is both endearing and wildly entertaining. Dalton Mugridge commands the stage with a charismatic presence as The Great Kanaka, the archetypal beach bum and guru. Maggie Pinsonneault’s portrayal of Berdine adds a delightful layer of earnest geekiness, while Michele Legere, as Mrs. Forrest, offers a twist on the maternal figure with a performance that is both comedic and nuanced. The chemistry between the actors, including the likes of Georgie Savoie’s Marvel Ann and Kyle Cloutier’s Star Cat, creates a dynamic that is essential to the play’s humor and overall success. Each actor embraces their role with gusto, contributing to a production that is as much a celebration of individuality as it is a tribute to the era it represents.

The ensemble cast, including Dalton Mugridge, Maggie Pinsonneault, and Michele Legere, among others, brings energy and commitment to their roles, contributing to the overall sense of fun that permeates the show. The cross-gender casting and drag performances are handled with a knowing wink to the audience, fitting perfectly with the play’s irreverent tone.

“Psycho Beach Party” fits snugly into Windsor’s arts scene, known for its diverse theatrical offerings. Korda Artistic Productions has a history of embracing plays that celebrate humor and inclusivity, and this production is no exception. It’s a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously and invites the audience to join in on the laughter.

The play runs for six more shows until March 2 at Kordazone Theatre, and if the opening weekend is any indication, it’s a party that’s well worth attending.

Korda's Psycho Beach PartyJen Gurniak
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