By Stuart Ross, and James Raitt
Directed by Steven Flaa
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL</strong>
While watching the plaid tuxedos made my brain hurt, the rest of the show was a hoot. Four geeky guys sing harmony, and they were pummeled by a bus full of Catholic virgins in 1964. They never made that gig at the Holiday in by the airport but tonight they get one last chance to perform their big show in the great hereafter. There’s Kevin Kelly as Frankie, the mostly sane one, Nick Rishall is Jinx, the short guy with the bloody nose, Michael Swickard is the balding guy out in front, and Todd Allen Long never get the choreography right. Nothing is bad here, and the big numbers are Jinx leading “Cry”, the group belting “Not Much” and the macho work medley “16 Tons/ Chain Gang.” Like all harmony groups, there’s sharp choreography although it’s played for laughs in the first act, in one number it looked like they were attempting to form the “Big W” from “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” The second act was shorter and more theatrical; it featured a very funny parody of the old “Ed Sullivan Show.” Some of us old guys remember Topo Gigio and Señor Wences and exactly WHY playing Lady of Spain on an accordion is funny, but I suspect anyone not on the AARP hot list will miss the gags. An audience member got on stage to help platy “Heart and Soul”, and even Mr. Leavy got a spotlight entrance. Could the Plaids have made it big if they had made that gig in 1964? Maybe, but you should catch thee them live today, or at least sometime in the next three weeks.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org