First Impression review: The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go! at the Next Stage Theatre Festival.
Critic: Kelly Lynn Kirk
Play at a glance: This musical is about teenage love and the ultimate beach party. Bikini Beach is the place with the ‘choice’ waves, but the Big Tuna (Evan Dowling) controls the beach and will ‘pound’ those who step foot on it. Freddie (Thomas Duplessie) challenges the Big Tuna to a surf off so his crew can hold the Tiki-tastic party on Bikini Beach.
First Impression: The play is entertaining, but it is overkill on the "woody" jokes – we get it already, it is a surf board. Solos were hard to hear, especially by Freddie, Sugar (Rory Bray) and Jeanette (Sarah Kuzio). Even the speaking voices had me missing lines. The cast was great at keeping up the energy in those fast and peppy dances. While the play is upbeat and energetic, the writing has holes that need to be looked at. The band is absolutely fabulous and does not overshadow the action onstage. I just wish the actors could project their voices over the music.
Highlights: The dances are probably the best part of the play. The cast is great with the upbeat and bouncy moves. Lovely chemistry exists between the Big Tuna and Mini Minnow (Stephan Dickson). Some beautiful little moments occur between these two, especially at the end of the play.
Nit picks: Besides the quiet voices and the overkill of the woody jokes, the cameo of Alvin the Chipmunk is pointless and amateur. There is no point for it, just cheap laughs.
Audience instant reactions: The audience seemed to enjoy the entertainment of the play. Applause at the end was gracious, but not deserving of the second curtain call.
Critic instant reaction: I give it 2 out of 4.
Note from Nestruck: This review was written as part of a workshop on theatre criticism and time constraints. Participants were asked to file a review within one hour of seeing a show of their choice at Toronto's Next Stage festival.