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PREVIEW: Spokane Civic Theatre’s 'Psycho Beach Party' brings campy fun to Halloween show

A rain poncho won’t be necessary to see Spokane Civic Theatre’s production of “Psycho Beach Party,” but audience members might want to bring a pair of sunglasses when they walk into the Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre, as the California sun will be shining bright.

Set on Malibu Beach in 1962, “Psycho Beach Party” is a satirical mash up of “Gidget,” the beach party films starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, and Alfred Hitchcock.

One of these things is definitely not like the others.

The play follows Chicklet Forrest (Rushele Herrmann), who wants more than anything to be part of the surf crowd, a goal complicated by her multiple personalities. Out of the half-dozen personalities Chicklet portrays, the most prominent is a vixen named Ann Bowman.

The play also stars Jacob Carruthers (Yo-Yo), Jade Kincaid (DeeDee), Nathan Miller (Nicky), Sid Al-Thumali (Provoloney), Dennis Julian Burgess (Star Cat), Jack Fogarty (Kanka), Grayson Davey (Berdine), Angel Cimball (Marvel Ann), Jason Johnson (Mrs. Forrest) and Sarah Plumb (Bettina Barnes).

“Psycho Beach Party” opens, as the Halloween spirits would have it, on Friday the 13th.

Over the years, the fall production in the studio has become known as the Halloween show. Two years ago, Spokane Civic Theatre produced “Evil Dead: The Musical.” Last year, the theater put on “The Rocky Horror Show.”

For this season’s spooky production, director Jerry Sciarrio was excited for the chance to work in the beach party style he grew up with.

“Having the opportunity to do this play, which is both a satire and an homage to that style, to those movies, it was very hard to say no,” he said. “It came right at a time when I was looking to direct.”

When casting “Psycho Beach Party,” the second Civic show he’s directed, Sciarrio was looking for specific types, as the characters in the play are stereotyped characters of the beach party films.

“There’s the best friend of the heroine, the nerdy gal,” he said. “There’s the hunky, beach surfer guy. There’s a Hollywood movie starlet in very much the Marilyn Monroe/Mamie Van Doren tradition, so very definite types to fill..."

 

Read the rest of the preview here

Preview by Azaria Podplesky of The Spokesman Review

Photo by Jessse Tinsley of The Spokesman Review


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