60s spoof cinema becomes Midsumma highlight

By Myron My

Psycho Beach Party is a glorious camp dive into the 60s surf as we follow Chicklet’s (Ash Flanders) journey to becoming a female surfer. Along the way we learn of a psycho who likes to shave women’s hair from top to bottom, witness some “unexpected” love, and meet an overbearing mother with a secret or two of her own.

Filmed as the 2000 queer cult classic of the same name, Little Ones Theatre have brought all the joy and hilarity of Charles Busch’s spoof horror beach flick script back to the stage where it all began.

Psycho Beach Party

The play’s set is adorned with leopard prints as far as the eye can see: umbrella, beach chairs, sand, backdrop and even the majority of the costumes are all decked in various shades and patterns of black and yellow. Despite scene changes, the set never altered and perhaps allowing the audience to cast their eyes on something different would have better distinguished between different locales. The gloriously campy musical numbers – and quirky choreography – were a joy to watch and I did wish there had been a few more of these.

All the performers did extremely well with their characters and they were clearly having fun playing these absurd beach-loving stereotypes. The standouts for me would have to be Flanders, Genevieve Giuffre as Berdine and Zoe Boesen as Marvel Ann. Despite having quite a few different stories with not much narrative direction, the various erratic plots do all get wrapped up quite nicely by the end of the show.

But you are not watching Psycho Beach Party for its storyline or the depth of its characters. It is – dare I say it – like a 60s beach version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show meets Friday the 13th Psycho Beach Party cranks it up to 11 with its over-the-top persona, some sharp (and sexually punning) dialogue and a few fabulous music interludes for good measure.

Playing as part of Midsumma Festival, Psycho Beach Party is as camp as the proverbial row of tents but this is definitely one beach where you’ll want to pitch yours (yes, I went there).

Venue: Theatreworks, 14 Acland St, St Kilda.

Season: Until 19 January | 7:30pm

Tickets: $32 Full | $22 Concession

Bookings:  9534 3388 or