6 Guitars- Review

Ian Huffam

     This show is a must see! In 6 Guitars Chase Padgett and John Hopkins have woven together 6 diverse characters who all have one thing in common: their love of music as expressed on the guitar.

Each character plays a different style of music: Tyrone, the 87 year-old blues legend; Wes, the grounded jazz musician; Michael, the 20 year-old rocker; Emmanuel, the Mexican classical guitarist; Peter, the effeminate folk singer; and Rupert, the stereotypical country performer. Each of these men have very different stories and backgrounds concerning their history with music, but they are united not only through their passion for their craft but because all are all played by one actor.

Chase Padgett gives it everything he’s got in performing this show, and it absolutely pays off. He seamlessly transitions between each character, and each character’s individual voice and mannerisms are as natural as they are distinct. As for the actual guitar music, Padgett also proves himself a more than capable musician in effortlessly playing all 6 styles on the same guitar and singing in character, too.

There are a few issues in this show, mainly that the character transitions are so swift and unexpected that it can sometimes be a bit confusing to figure out which character Padgett is playing. It only takes a moment or two to catch up however, so overall enjoyment of the show isn’t hindered terribly by it.

Initially I was unsure of what the overall point of this show was, but in the final musical number (a song that should be familiar to all, but I won’t name it here) the message is beautifully exemplified although the audience has figured it out long before then. This show is a love letter to the multi-faceted art that is American music, and an explanation of how every genre in that musical tradition can be traced back to the same roots. Through each character each genre makes its case, acknowledges its stereotypes, and preaches the ultimate theme – music is like humanity: though we are all different, we are fundamentally the same. And that’s beautiful.

 

Written by Chase Padgett and John Hopkins

Performed by Chase Padgett

Playing at the Arts Court Library