August 3, 4, 5 and 6
6 Guitars is the only show I’ve seen at the Fringe so far that got a standing ovation. This is not to say that other performances didn’t deserve one, but 6 Guitars is the kind of really good, really funny, really interesting show that makes people want to jump up at the end of the play and clap.
Armed with only a guitar and speaker, Chase Padgett portrays 6 different characters, each a musician of a different genre, as they talk about their particular type of music, play some songs and tell stories of what drew them to their style of playing.
Tyrone is an 87-year-old blues guitarist who is funny and flirty and frank about his simple views on life. Michael is a 20-year-old keener heavy metal guitar player who writes songs about the devil but is really a sweet mama’s boy. Emanuel is a classical guitarist from Mexico who talks a mile a minute and speaks in magical metaphors about his craft. Rupert is a country guitar picker who turned to music when he fell off his roof playing football with his family. Wesley plays jazz guitar and is both vainglorious about the fact that jazz is too complicated for most people to understand and a little pissed that so many people don’t get his type of music. Finally, Peter is a 50’s hippie folk guitarist that is just so happy everyone is all together sharing in the music. In other words, Padgett gives us the perfect stereotypes of each musical genre.
To juxtapose his characters, Padgett morphs from one into the other throughout the play often using his brief musical interludes to segue the change. His playing is sound and his acting is strong. But this show wouldn’t have gotten people on their feet if all that was offered was a little music and a few impersonations. What makes this show so good is the writing and the humour, both improvised and scripted, that are utilized to get the show’s point across – namely that no type of music is better, they are just all different. For example – Tyrone remarks that the blues are really only about 4 things – hard times, look at my car, that woman is hot and let’s go get messed up. He then goes to point out that rap is about the exact same 4 things, just with someone shouting “what” every 2 minutes. In a later segment Rupert talks about all country music being about 4 things, hard times, my Ford truck, that hot woman’s cut off shorts and how they are going to drink until they are messed up.
Padgett has performed these lines many times at many festivals and he’s gotta know the audience loves it. What he hasn’t done many times is the improvisation he injects into the show. To prove the point that a heavy metal song can be about anything, Michael picks out a guy in the front row, asks him his name, some info about him, spends a fair bit of time having a laugh with the info. He then launches into an impromptu rock song using all the info gleaned the moment before. It’s fresh and funny and you can tell that Padgett is having a blast doing it.
My only negative comment on the show has to do with Peter, the hippie folk singer, who was played as a very effeminate man. Yes, folk singers were sensitive and emotional, but the gay vibe Padgett chose to portray just seemed odd as opposed to the stereotypical hippie flower child I would have liked to see.
That said, 6 Guitars is a near perfect show in its ability to entertain, make you laugh and teach you something about different genres of music. Be warned though, all online seats are sold out for the remainder of the Fringe, so get there early to snap up the door tickets. I arrived 30 minutes before the show and there was already a line up.
For the guys – What guy doesn’t love a guitarist? How about 6 talented and funny ones? SEE IT
For the girls – You’ll learn more about music, you’ll laugh and you’ll love the characters. SEE IT
For the occasional audience – It doesn’t matter what genre of music you like personally, you will love seeing all the guitarists and it will keep you laughing all the way through. SEE IT
For the theater junkies – Not everything has to be deep, dark and meaningful. Go, listen, laugh and I promise you will enjoy. SEE IT