By Chase Padgett
Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival – Silver Venue
Henry has virtually no short term memory. He remembers how to read and write and who his mama is and how to play guitar, but beyond that names and events are mere ripples in his continuum. But his guitar playing gets attention, soon he’s on the radio and staring in Nashville Showcases and this damaged boy becomes Mommy’s Little Meal Ticket. When a dive bar catches fire, he’s nearly killed but breaks out of the vise he’s in, and no one seems to care beyond the fact he’s not there to feed them.
While this whole production is artistically and musically a gem, the opening image is what really sticks with me – Henry in his cowboy hat and guitar stand on a table with a blood-red back light. It’s an image worthy of the Marlboro man and ought to be on the poster. Padgett plays all the roles; it’s like his hit “Six Guitars” focused down to only one musician. Along the way he’s vulnerable as Henry, smarmy as the radio DJ, loveable as the girl friend, unctuous as the academic seeking tenure, and ominous as his white trash swear factory mother. Padgett’s brilliant playing makes Henry’s stardom believable, and it’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone pull off “The Devil Goes Down to Georgia” on and acoustic guitar. I rank this a Must See for all music lovers.
This show is part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Tickets and other information may be found at http:\\www.OrlandoFringe.org