Center Stage: ‘Forever Plaid,’ hilarious holiday romp at Off Broadway Palm
Ho! Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha! Tee! Hee! Hee! Hee! Giggle! Giggle! Giggle!; that’s exactly the sounds you will be making as you sit back and enjoy one of the most delightful holiday shows to get you in the Yuletide mood, currently wowing the audiences at the Off Broadway Palm. The show titled “Plaid Tidings/ the Holiday Edition of Forever Plaid” is no soupy, sappy, sugary sweet show; but a hilarious holiday romp, that pleasures the senses, while it is tickling your funny bone.
The four Plaid lads, are offering a holiday edition of the off Broadway hit musical revue, “Forever Plaid” written in 1990 by playwright Stuart Ross; telling the stories of Jinx, played to its plaid hilt by Joe Ogren, one of the outstanding cast members of the Palm’s recent hit “Footloose;” Frankie, presenting another exceptional actor/ musician Austin Riley Green; Sparky, performed by talented new comer Tim Russell making his Off Broadway Palm debut and Smudge, Adam Clough, who demonstrates once again what a clever and versatile entertainer Clough really is.
The Plaid plot centers around these four singers who were on their way to their first big break performance, when suddenly kaboom! Tragedy strikes, in the form of a school bus full of Beatles fans colliding with the Plaid’s car, where they get instantly dispatched to the heavenly chorus. But wait, they have been sent back one last time to sing for their audience, thus fulfilling their greatest dream; and that folks, was and is the back story of “Forever Plaid.” In this holiday adaptation the play changes a bit bringing the fab four back to dress the show in all of its Christmas finery.
The hilarious heavenly quartet return with their tightly 50s,60s moves, as well as their equally tightly harmonized blast from the past, along with the swingin’, singin’, renditions of musical hits, so popular at that time. Here is the perfect moment to congratulate the plus perfect staging and movements, choreography and direction by Victor Lagarreta. “Right on” Victor!
In this wonderfully wacky version, directed by Victor Lagarreta with Musical Director Christopher Russell, we get a nostalgic holiday extravaganza utilizing the very best of the original “Forever Plaid” (“Sixteen Tons,” “Sha-Boom,” “Besame Mucho,” “Mambo Italino,” “Hey There,” “Fever”), gift wrapped in a neat package dressed in holiday finery, with a big bow on top. Our holiday gift is a “Plaid-erized” Christmas wrap of standards from “Let It Snow,” “Mr. Santa,” ” Jingle Bells” (with real bells, along with a good sport audience supporter on solo bell). We got more audience participation in a Calypso Jingle, sung to the tune of “Matilda.”
There are a whole sleigh load of highlights in this charming holiday happening, one of which was a sad, but a selfless tale of the put upon, and shunned “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer,” a yarn about turning lemons into lemonade, or in this case turning a shiny proboscis into a beacon of light and hope. Then lickety split Rudolf is off on another fable about “big brother” watching every move you make in his take on “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” just think of the implications of “he knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been good or bad, so be good for heaven’s sake.” I guess we had better turn off all our computers and smart phones if we want to get our Christmas presents.
Bottom line this is one funny, sassy, slightly off the wall holiday entertainment that will leave you with a grin on your face as you head home. In other words “”Plaid Tidings” is more spice than the sugary stuff make up most holiday shows.
The cast is in a word great, the music catchy, and choreography/ direction first class, making “Plaid Tidings” a good bet for a great time; by getting us all into the spirit of “that most wonderful time of the year.”
So make tracks over to the phone by calling the box office at (239)278-4422; and when you phone remind ’em Marsha sent you. Meanwhile have yourself a Merry Little Christmas season now!