It was 10:30 p.m. and I wanted the authentic Fringe experience, where you trust to the universe and are open to being surprised.
Happily, I walked into Ryan Adam Wells’ musical Beers About Songs. He said he’d do his best for us and delivered on his promise to give us a good show.
Now, I’m trying to deliver on this review. How to describe a lone performer accompanied by his guitar? Wells is young and sincere with a great comic sense. And did I say talented? His show is a loose narrative of songs and stories about two relationships – three including the alcohol.
The songs hold a hint of Johnny Cash and are crazy fun. The stories are poignant. Think Cash meets Vinyl Café. Wells’ visit to the Coyote Ugly bar and the misadventures that follow after downing dollar drinks is just one alcoholic mishap.
The narrative follows his long-term relationships with exes Alicia and Sarah and is never maudlin. While the cute, chatting-with-your-BFF type of details about young love are universal, the possessiveness and jealousy that seemed cute in the beginning of his relationship with Sarah morph into something else.
The abuse sneaks up on us slowly through his words. Nothing is held back in the simple descriptions of being hit and of having things thrown at him. As Wells says more than once in the show, “I don’t like confrontation.”
But he doesn’t get out on his own. It takes someone who pays attention to him and is concerned to help Wells free himself. He tells us to pay attention to others and have others in our lives who would do the same for us.