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“Plaid Tidings” from The Mill is a Holiday Delight for the Family

The Plaids are part of a rich tradition at Swift Creek Mill Theatre, as the first play, Forever Plaid debuted in 1994 at the historical venue. Over the last twenty-one years, three different versions (and different cast members) of this production have graced the stage and it is easy to see why audiences at Swift Creek Mill Theatre love the Plaids.

Plaid_Tidings_SignThe Plaids are a close-harmony group of high school boys, performing in the 1950s. The play begins when this dynamic quartette is thrust back to earth from the afterlife for a very special final performance. This musical highlights traditional Christmas classics, such as “Joy to the World,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” interspersed with some classics of yesteryear, such as “Sh-Boom” and “Mambo Italiano.” However, the best part is the modern twist the Plaids put on many classic songs.

Audiences of all ages will appreciate the music, acting, and fantastic entertainment. Funny throughout, the play also encourages audience participation that’s a real hoot. The play gives a nod to Perry Como and the Ed Sullivan Show in a sentimental tie-in. Although mostly traditional, be on the lookout for a few surprises, including some unconventional uses of tools that are simply brilliant.

Although most of the numbers were full-quartette, each actor performs solos as well. Kirk Sharpenstein, shines as Frankie, a great vocalist and actor, who deftly switches to diverse genres. I suspect audience members will have a soft spot for Smudge (Gordon Graham) with his portrayal of an awkward high school boy with whom we can all relate. Jinx (Storm Burks) really thrives on audience participation and helps the audience cut loose. Expressive and engaging, Storm Burks is a delight to watch. Ian Page as Sparky exudes talent. No matter what antics the cast members are up to, Travis West keeps his cool on piano throughout the production.

Directed by the talented Tom Width, this is a show you and your family will not want to miss. Oh, and don’t forget to wear plaid!

Forever Plaid: Plaid Tidings runs through January 9 at the Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Recommended for ages 6 and up. For showtimes and tickets, visit Swift Creek Mill Theatre.

Fiona Bessey-Bushnell is an occupational therapist and writer who lives in the West End. She enjoys exploring all the exciting places Richmond has to offer with her husband and two sons.

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