Publicist/ Staff Writer
Some productions have the power to leave you longing for the next scene whereas others leave you longing for the curtain call.
Waiting for the curtain call was unfortunately the case with Starvox Entertainment's Forever Plaid, a 1950s do-wop filled with cheesy writing, tiresome numbers and mashed-up characters who lacked authenticity.
Returning to life for their final chance to perform is the Plaids, a 1950s boy band featuring Jinx (Jeff Madden), Smudge (Matt Cassidy), Franky (Jonathan Cullen) and Sparky (Scott Beaudin). Written by Stuart Ross, the Plaids posthumously return to have one last chance at performing their show in front of a live audience. The group was on their way to see the Beatles' American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show when their car collided with a school bus killing all four of them.
Although the writing seeks to remain fictionally relevant to 1950s slang and common vernacular, it just doesn't work in 2016. Of the numerous suggestions and comedic quips, the ensemble knew how to fly them but they just couldn't land a joke. The entire production is composed of harmonized musical numbers with minimal attempts at dialogue to create a cabaret that borders on overacting. The characters take time to reminisce over childhood memories and their time together on earth, acting as a time-filler to accommodate for the rushed pacing of the musical numbers.
Being that this is a musical revue, there was an attempt to piece a plot together that just didn't stick. Could this have been achieved? Yes, and it couldn't be more blatantly obvious.
As the music industry continued to pickup and gain mass popularity during the 1950s, iconic pop stars increasingly stole the hearts and minds of youth throughout North America. Why? Because they were uniquely identifiable within their respective genres of music.
When it comes to this ensemble's performance, each character becomes the other, making it difficult to distinguish and genuinely reminisce over a time—and most evidently a characters' life —gone by. If the characters truly wonder why they were never adorned in their human life, they need look no further than their dry portrayals on stage. Even if this was the point, it became equally frustrating to connect or remotely want to care about any of the characters.
The singing, however, is great. Music director Mark Camilleri's band is pretty wonderful, too.
Although there is a good deal of production value, the show will forever remain generational. The target audience for this production is geared to those who grew up listening to the likes of Perry Como or Elvis Presley and jiving across gymnasium floors. Everything from malt shoppe memories to jukeboxes is reminiscent of this production, all the reason why it will ring loudly in the teenage hearts of those ages 70 and over.
As for younger audiences (who aren't as in love with barbershop quartets), it's always nice to treat your grandparents to a Sunday matinee.
Forever Plaid runs to June 12 at the Panasonic Theatre. For more information or to book your tickets, please visit www.Mirvish.com.