Fringe Review: ‘Superman Drinks’

Superman Drinks, Chase Padgett Productions, Orlando. Orange venue, 60 minutes, $8.

By Elizabeth Maupin
Elizabeth Maupin on Theater

Chase Padgett

My nomination for maybe the most promising progression of the Fringe — Chase Padgett, who has transformed himself from Sak Comedy Lab improviser to Fringe musical star (last year’s wildly successful 6 Guitars) to budding monologist in the TJ Dawe tradition. (TJ steps away from the Orlando Fringe for only a year, and suddenly he’s got a tradition.)

In Superman Drinks, Padgett weaves his love of the guitar into a story that begins with superheroes but is really about his father, a talented athlete and salesman who saw his life fall apart because of alcohol and drugs. But Padgett and co-writer/director Jay Hopkins interlace the straight-up facts of Padgett’s growing-up with some happier obsessions — superhero comic books, Dungeons & Dragons and especially the crafting and playing of the guitar.

It’s all to serve the main theme (“If I was talented enough, he’d change, right?”), but the seeming digressions also make you think about your own notions of heroism and how people with no superhuman powers can be heroic in their own quiet ways.

Superman Drinks wavers a bit in its tone, which can border on the over-sentimental, and in the obvious punch lines thrown in here and there. But it’s an undeniably compelling story — poignant one minute, funny the next. And watching a talented performer learn from those around him, and then put into practice what he has learned, is nothing less than sweet.

Remaining shows:
Monday May 23, 7:10 p.m.
Wednesday May 25, 8:10 p.m.
Friday May 27, 5:45 p.m.

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