The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go!, directed by Allison Beula and playing at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace, is a homage to the beach party films of the 1960s. I mean, what better way to celebrate the final weeks of summer vacation but throwing a beach party? It won’t happen if The Big Tuna has his way! And how else do you solve a problem but with a surf-off?
I’d heard rumours around the festival that the show was excellent, and frankly they aren’t wrong. It’s is an absolute riot, a delightful, entertaining musical that will have you humming the songs hours after you leave the theatre.
All of the standard Beach Party archetypes are present in the cast. There’s the main couple, Jeanette and Freddie (Sarah Kuzio and Thomas Duplessie), the “bad guy” The Big Tuna (Evan Dowling) and a gaggle of bikini-clad “cats” and “chicks”. My personal favourite was Nick Nasrallah as Slim Melvin, the stereotypical geek.
The plot is paper thin, but the cast absolutely revels in it. The show is self-deprecating and totally hilarious. The actors will reach a topic they don’t have a song for, and be too confused to continue, or make references to 60s mainstays like Gilligan’s Island or Scooby Doo.
Played with a live band, The Von Drats, the songs are performed well. Most are beach-themed songs from the 60s, but a few are original to the show. The new songs are particularly catchy and fun.
There are also some really neat effects pulled off via costume, which had the crowd cheering, but you’ll have to see that for yourself. Besides, there are scantily-clad men and women, catchy songs, dance parties and even a little bit of leather – what more could you ask for?
– The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go! is playing at Tarragon Theatre Mainspace until July 17, 2011.
– Show dates are July 11 at 4:30pm, July 13 at 9:15pm, July 14 at 4pm, July 15 at 7pm, and July 17 at 1:45pm.
– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
photo of Evan Dowling and cast