Forever Plaid

On February 9th 1964 four young men were on their way to perform their first major concert as ‘Forever Plaid’. They never made it. Now at Upstairs at the Gatehouse those four young men are back for one final show. This is the story of Forever Plaid.

Alone each of the four performers is terrific, yet when they come together they are truly sublime.

Director and manager of Upstairs at the Gatehouse, John Plews has made it clear in the programme how highly rates in this show, as well as giving his reasons for reviving it in these rather difficult times. He has made a great choice and his direction skills for a stage with an audience on two sides was well done. Racky Plews (choreography) has also, as expected, weaved her magic touch into the more energetic numbers with some fantastic dance pieces, despite the limited space they have to work with.

The stars of this show are, however, the four performers who take on the roles on Frankie, Jinx, Smudge and Sparky. Their comic timing, emotional reminisces, and most importantly tight vocal harmonies are a joy to behold and listen to. They took me on a musical journey which I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

Alexander Zane, as Sparky, despite being the smallest of the four has an outstanding amount of stage presence and his energy fills the room as soon as he makes his first appearance. Sparky tends to do most of the talking to the audience and we can’t help falling in love with Alexander’s wit and gorgeous vocals.

The singer that really stood out for me was George Crawford as Jinx. His solo moments are sublime and, at one point when he really got into his groove, a big cheer went from the audience. He was an absolute delight to listen to.

The more comedic elements of the show went to the bass singer of the group Smudge, played by Christopher Short. Every nervous shuffle he made was timed to perfection and he really pulled off some of the more complex choreographed gaffes very well indeed. As the bass he is given fewer vocal solos than the others but his presence can still be felt in every song.

The final member of this quartet is Frankie, played by Cameron Burt. Like the others he too has a stunning voice. Frankie is the young man who really tugs at our heartstrings. His speech towards the end of the piece is particularly noteworthy. Cameron was also very good at setting the mood when the show was coming out of a fun segment and heading towards more sombre territory.

Alone each of the four performers is terrific, yet when they come together they are truly sublime. They perfectly navigated through complex harmonies and dance moves. From classic songs such as Catch A Falling Star and Three Coins In The Fountain right through to an upbeat calypso medley that led them all to wearing sombreros and doing the conga around the stage they succeeded in every challenge this show presents them with.

A big shout out is also due to Ian Oakley (keyboard and Musical Director) and Jess Martin (double bass) whose skills were also on full display. The whole creative and technical team too have done a great job at bringing Upstairs at the Gatehouse to back to life. Particular credit must go to Aaron J Dootson and Toby Burro. Their lighting and sound design was faultless and really helped bring the magic.

Personally I see this show as a bit of a symbol for the theatre industry which is fighting back from the effects of the pandemic. Alone all the parts are great. The lighting, the sound, the performers, the direction, the music, the choreography, the writing. But it is when these all come together that something truly magical happens and we, the audience, are whisked away into a wonderful land where anything is possible.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by Christopher James

Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Forever Plaid

★★★★★
Islington Square

No Strings Attached

★★★★★
London

THIS IS REALITY 2000

★★★★
London, England

The Tell-Tale Heart

★★★★★
Queen's Theatre

Robin Hood

★★★★
Above the Stag Theatre

The Good Scout

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

We are delighted to be bringing this socially distanced production of Forever Plaid back once more to the Gatehouse. This ‘Heavenly Musical’ is one of our favourites with its ‘square’ songs from the Fifties. This delicious fun revue is chock-full of classic quartet harmonies and pitch-perfect melodies. Songs include: Magic Moments / Catch a Falling Star Cry / Love is a Many Splendored Thing / Three Coins in a Fountain

Most Popular See More

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Blithe Spirit

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets