I’m a crusty old theatre critic, but Chase Padgett’s accomplishment in 6 Guitars is so virtuosic that he had me on my feet. In this solo piece, which he wrote and performs, Padgett embodies half a dozen characters, each of whom plays the guitar in a different style. The material is often hilarious. The old bluesman explains why it didn’t work out when he tried to emulate his hero, Blind Lemon Jefferson, by naming himself Syphilis Mango Taft. And the jazz guy says, “Jazz music. I could tell you so much, but would you ever really understand it?” Padgett can play: wait for his salute to Joe Pass. And his acting portraits are laser-sharp: you can spot the folkie’s manic grin in a split second. The one character blip is the classical player’s supposedly Mexican accent, which sounds closer to Japanese. But 6 Guitars is still dazzling—and moving. Padgett makes a persuasive case for the simple but profound notion that music is a transcendent language.
At the Cultch Historic Theatre on September 9 (4:30 p.m.), 11 (7:45 p.m.), 14 (9:30 p.m.), and 15 (4:30 p.m.).