Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

The West Chester University production of “Psycho Beach Party” was wickedly entertaining and incited the audience to riotous laughter. The show, running from February 26-28, 2004, in the E.O. Bull Center Soundstage, was directed by Charles Bush and was a sold-out performance. Though the title implies otherwise, there was no killing or violence in the play, but rather, a cast of eccentric characters including a young girl suffering from multiple-personality disorder (Sean Flaherty), a pair of in-the-closet homosexual surfers (Eric Meisner and S. Tyler Hoffman), an actress incognito (Amy Miller), and a psychiatrist-turned-surfer (Steve Blahut).

The play was set “on and around a beach in Malibu” in 1962. It chronicled one summer in the lives of the various characters. The main characater of the play, Chicklet Forrest, a socially inept, endlessly enthusiastic young girl was actually played by a man, Sean Flaherty. Flaherty was excellent in the role, showing his acting ability by playing various characters living in the same body- not only Chicklet, but also Anne Bowman, a power-hungry dominatrix; a mediating female psychologist; a male model; and a wide assortment of characters inhabiting Chicklet’s body.

“Psycho Beach Party” told the story of these characters, and their various interac-tions with Chicklet and her multiple personalities. In the play, Chicklet wanted nothing more than to learn to surf, and begged and pleaded with the “older boys” to teach her. Finally, Kanaka, played by Nate Black, agrees to teach her. After he unknowingly says the word “red” to Chicklet, she changes personalities, becoming the sexual dominatrix, Anne Bowman, and seduces Kanaka. After this experience, the characters’ lives would not be the same.

Sarah Glaum, in her role of Chicklet’s brainy best friend, Berdine, stole the show with her nasal voice and constant spouting of prose and literature. When she appeared at Chicklet’s window in her yellow pajamas and a cape, the audience was unable to contain its laughter. Her daily entries into her diary were also hilarious.

Highlights of the show included the first kiss between YoYo and Provaloney; Star Cat being unable to draw his eyes away from the enormous chest of Mrs. Forrest (Robert J. McCormick); Berdine’s daring rescue of Chicklet, and the character’s surfing in various poses.

Different from previous University productions, “Psycho Beach Party” relies mainly on its humor and crazy characters to entertain the audience. There were many instances in which characters stumbled over their lines or mispronounced words. However, the hilarious dialogue and situations of the play made it a joy to watch.

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