Stuart Ross’ musical Forever Plaid is a quirky homage to the clean-cut boy bands of the 1960s such as The Four Aces. In Ross’s story, the group are killed in a car crash en route to their first gig in front of a paying audience. His musical sees them given a heavenly chance to perform that gig in order to pass through to the other side. Forever Plaid, with its simple production values and massive nostalgia hit was a great success, eventually spawning the Christmas sequel Plaid Tidings.
It’s not really necessary to see the original as there’s enough exposition in Plaid Tidings to establish place and time and after a good 15 minutes of rubbish about ectoplasm, the afterlife and cosmic forces, we settle down to some very good close-harmony singing on a Christmas theme.
There are several asides that interrupt the music, including a digression on Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer by Kris Marc-Joseph as Frankie that really doesn’t work and the reimagining of a TV Christmas Special that makes the whole show worthwhile.
Guy Retallack’s direction makes the most of the tiny space and while Katharine Davies Herbst’s ambitious design lacks polish, it lends a warm, homespun feel to the show.