‘Forever Plaid’ tops chart of adorables in New Castle play

Each member of the cast has an individual shining moment in the play.



“Forever Plaid” at the New Castle Playhouse is, in a word, adorable.

The play, by Stuart Ross and James Raitt, is a musical review performed by a singing quartet, the Plaids. According to the narration, the Plaids were actually a group in the 1950s and ’60s.But, they were tragically killed before they could reach popularity. Somehow, they are brought back to life for just one night to perform the show they never did in life.

Frankie, Sparky, Jinx and Smudge were high school friends who tried to make it big as a singing group. However, they just weren’t that good and never really went anywhere.

Director Caryn Nicholson assembled a cast with the right mix of awkwardness and humor. Each man had an individual shining moment in the play. Phillip Ball, as Sparky, was cute and silly. His “Perfidia” was very entertaining. Patrick Erkman, as Frankie, seemed to be the ringleader of the group. His strong singing voice carried the others, especially in “Chain Gang.” Ryan Jones, as Jinx, shined in his solo, “Cry.” Byron Ckingerman, as Smudge, was most likable in his acting roles, such as his monologue about records.

Throughout the play, the men’s performances varied. At times, their harmonies sounded very nice. But at others, they were lacking. The men also seemed unsure of their dialogue. Some awkwardness was appropriate to their characters, but too much took away from the performance.

Musical director Randall Surface provided piano accompaniment and some comic relief. Tammy Erkman’s choreography was cute and appropriately corny.

A few technical snafus occurred: The announcement before the play was way too loud and the men spent the first 10 minutes of the play walking around in the dark. Some light would have been preferable.

On the whole, “Forever Plaid” was an entertaining experience. The performance flew by in 90 minutes, just the right amount for such a show. All four actors were sweet and funny and the musical numbers provided the audience with a sense of nostalgia. “Forever Plaid” is a show sure to entertain and delight audiences of all ages.

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