Howard Petrick recounts tales of working on the railroad, traveling the USA in a boxcar and discovering a passion for activism in his one man show Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed.
Should you see it?
Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed is a collection of tales and characters that make up one whole story about how Petrick became involved in fighting for social justice, yet the entire show comes across as an uneven tribute to the infamous IWW (International Workers in the World) member Joe Hill. Petrick teaches the audience old ditties created by the unions, using the same tactics as the people they were crusading against, to raise public ridicule against the church, government and big corporation.
The entirety of the play really feels like it’s leading up to nowhere and carries stories that have no real purpose to a central plot around Petrick’s drive towards becoming a union junkie. Petrick’s strength is definitely in his story-telling abilities. Some of his characters he impersonates are chillingly funny, yet at times the dialogue between characters feels half-hearted and abandoned.
Petrick also leads the audience in a union song sing-along at one point, but to what purpose? There seemed to only be a few people in the audience who enjoyed that aspect of the show. Petrick’s strength is in his story-telling, but perhaps there should be something more linear to the script in which he is working off of. He also needs to watch the clock; running over your allotted time is a cardinal sin in Fringe, even if it’s only by 7 minutes.
What did you think? How would you compare Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed to Howard Petrick’s Breaking Rank? Join the discussion in the comments below.
For more information about Never Own Anything You Have to Paint or Feed, including show times and how to buy advance tickets, check out the show page on ottawafringe.com: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/never-own-anything-you-have-to-paint-or-feed/