‘Forever Plaid’ Flaunts, Taunts Boy Wonders

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
October 19, 1994

“Forever Plaid” is a tribute to the guy groups of the ’50s and ’60s who dressed exactly alike, performed choreographed moves and sang beautiful, heartbreaking harmony.  It also is a hilarious, quick-paced 90-minute musical comedy that sends up those groups as much as it pays homage to them.

Like the songs, “Forever Plaid” is light and frothy.

At Tuesday night’s opening at the Royal George Cabaret Theatre, the four starring actor; singers perfectly depicted the euphoria of being in front of an audience while conveying the pathos of being dead.

Oh, did I forget to mention that the members of Forever Plaid were killed in a car accident by Catholic virgins speeding to catch the Beatles perform on the “Ed Sullivan Show”?  So 30 years after their death, the Plaid boys return to Earth to give their final show.        And quite a performance it is, too.

Sporting Bryl Creemed hair, baby faces and matching white dinner jackets, Jinx (Scot Fedderly, Smudge (Fred Goudy), Sparky (Sean Allan Krill) and Frankie (Greg Walter) cautiously walk on stage, staring nervously at the audience.  But it’s not long before they ease their way into the first of 29 numbers, complete with cheesy synchronized dance moves.

When his bandmates decide to sing “Crazy ‘Bout Ya Baby,” Smudge worries, “The choreography’s too treacherous!”  But he, too, picks up a toilet plunger (you’ve got to see it to believe it) and works his way through the plucky song.  Tall and droll, Fred Goudy won the biggest laugh when he used a catsup bottle to make the transition between “Sixteen Tons” and “Chain Gang.”

Director Stuart Ross keeps things moving briskly, but smoothly. The Plaids’ three-minute condensation of the “Ed Sullivan Show” – the entire show – was priceless.

Though one of the characters tries to convince himself that “guy groups were back in.  The Beatles paved the way for us,” Forever Plaid at best was a lounge act in the making.  Covering the Fab Four’s “She Loves You,” they sing, “She loves you; Yes, siree.”  To quote one of the only newspaper reviews the Plaids ever received,  “This group’s sound is to contemporary music what formica is to  marble.”

Of course formica lasts and the Plaids didn’t.  Not until this play, anyway.

October 19, 1994

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