15

saturday

Playwright Charles Busch conquered off-Broadway venues during the Reagan era with a series of farces and genre parodies designed mainly to amuse himself. Borrowing a page from Susan Sontag’s 1964 essay Notes on “Camp,” Busch propped up the worst of the worst with a defiantly middlebrow approach: 1987’s Psycho Beach Party fused Frankie and Annette beach-blanket flicks with wink-nudge homoeroticism and artfully obtuse intellectual references. Landless Theatre Company draws on all of Psycho Beach Party’s strengths in its latest production: Andrew Baughman’s staging includes wonderful drag embodiments, so-so Joan Crawford impressions, and moments where the whole thing threatens to cave under the weight of its own irony. Still, any strike against the show also counts as a point in its favor: To paraphrase Sontag’s definition of camp, it’s good because it’s awful, and it’s awfully good. The play runs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the 1409 Playbill Café, 1409 14th St. NW. $18. (301) 639-5265. (Nick Green)