#THEATRE: “FOREVER PLAID”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
At around the ¾ mark of FOREVER PLAID, they do a three minute and 11 second homage to the Ed Sullivan Show. The first time I saw this Musical (oh so many years ago) and that particular piece of theatrical brilliance, I laughed so hard I literally fell off my seat and landed in the aisle. Not wishing to repeat that rather embarrassing moment and firmly ensconced in my aisle seat for the long awaited return of this show to Toronto, playing for a limited engagement at the same venue where it first triumphed, the Panasonic Theatre, I had forgotten just how good and entertaining and joyous and wholesome this show is before and after that still hysterically funny bit.
Whereas Elvis may have been King in the late 50s, music on the radio and television variety shows were still dominated by four-part guy groups, harmonizing songs that every mom and grandma would sing along too. FOREVER PLAID is a musical about Sparky, Smudge, Jinx and Frankie: four lads who meet up in high school, form a group, and perform regularly at supermarket openings and proms. On the night they finally get their big break to perform at the Airport Hilton cocktail bar, the 4 are tragically killed in a car accident. This musical is all about the show they would have given had they survived.
Vocally, the actors on the stage are above reproach. The harmonies are text book perfection. As Jinx, Dora award-winning actor for playing Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, Jeff Madden’s hypnotic soprano soars. Jonathan Cullen (Frankie) and Matt Cassidy (Smudge) encompass their roles with joie de vivre, finesse and gusto. I was completely mesmerized by Scott Beaudin’s portrayal of Sparky. From the snapping of his fingers or stomping his foot to the beat of a song to his vocal chops and swaying dance movements, it’s a transformative, deceptively natural and a beautifully modulated performance.
FOREVER PLAID will melt the heart of even the most hardened audience member and put a silly grin on their face to boot. For those of us of a certain age who actually remember watching the Perry Como show with the family or the lyrics to Catch a Falling Star or Topo Gigio, it’s a MUST SEE!!!
FOREVER PLAID runs through June 12, 2016 at Panasonic Theatre. Click here to learn more.