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By Chuck Rounds
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"Forever Plaid" is playing inside the showroom at the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. This is a wonderful show filled with tremendous music, singing, and tight harmonies. This show came back to Vegas after having been gone for over six years. It came back to us as fresh and as charming as ever and has successfully been making audience after audience love the show. The cast is exceedingly talented and makes the night go by very quickly.
Created by Stuart Ross, "Forever Plaid" is the story of a harmony group that was killed in an automobile crash while on their way to pick up their custom made plaid tuxedoes. Through the power of harmony and an expanding hole in the ozone layer, they are allowed to come back to earth in order to perform the show that they never got to do in life...okay, it is a strange, and a bit silly, concept...but it works, and it works very well.
Each of the characters is very well defined. The acting is just as good as the singing. We get to know them through their singing styles and each of their individual, and often subtle, idiosyncrasies. We come to like each of these characters for both their merits and their shortcomings. We root for them and applaud them every chance we get. These actors have been doing this show for a long time, but they never fail to continue to make things seem fresh for every performance.
The songs that "The Plaids" perform are all recognizable tunes from the 50’s and 60’s, and it is delightful to hear them again, and hear them in four-part harmony! There is enough theme and variation within the songs to make each of them a new and unique experience. Especially enjoyable, for example, is hearing songs from the Beatles sung in this style. This is a very vocally demanding show and requires superior voices. The harmonies are very tight and very complex. These performers seem to handle all of this complexity with incredible ease.
On a couple of different occasions, the audience is brought into the action of the play. I am always leery of audience participation, but this participation is never obtrusive and only seems to endear us to the Plaids even more and continues to further the action of the play.
On the one hand, the choreography is very simple--clean, simple bits that would be inherent in a quartet of singers; but on the other hand, there are so many small, yet technical, aspects of their movements that one begins to realize the complexity of the things that these performers are doing on stage.
The showroom at the Gold Coast works well for this production. It is a nice, comfortable, and intimate space that the performers utilize well.
All in all, the show is a delight. The songs are wonderful to hear. The actors performances are right on mark. "Forever Plaid" is proof that Las Vegas shows do not necessarily need big sets and scores of dancers to be successful entertainment. I wish that there were more shows like this one. I like this show and could see it over and over. I hope that more people recognize this show’s charm and brilliance---or it will go away.