Tom Tiding’s one-man show is about when life’s perfect moments go awry, and how this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
His stories about friends, family, love and long-haul trucking are both touching and horrifying. In the vein of such writers as David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, Tiding tells stories from his outlandishly scarring childhood to great comedic effect. If Tiding were not such a great storyteller, and if his timing were not so dead on, this would have been a very upsetting show.
The play is presented in seven separate stories, and the pacing and build of the stories is perfect. Tiding begins with funny, but rather run-of-the-mill stories about his time spent in a small Oklahoma town and the potential hook-up benefits of being a tall blonde man in Madrid.
But the tales begin to get darker as the show progresses. We eventually learn of Tidings multiple alcoholic stepfathers, his mother’s job as a long-haul trucker and her love of “ helping people and cocaine”. The final story about assisting his mother in committing of a felony at the age of 11 is horrifying, hilarious, uplifting and depressing all at the same time.
Twisted: Greeting Card Moments Gone Wrong is what a good one-person show should be; it is equal parts stand-up comedy and storytelling, and Tiding introduces us to a huge cast of district characters from his life.
At the first performance the accompanying PowerPoint (which provided the Greeting Card framing device) was on the fritz but I do not think (like all those ruined Hallmark Moments) that this was necessarily a bad thing. The intro and closing monologues that introduced the greeting card theme seemed forced compared to the ease of the rest of the production, and Tiding’s stories can stand alone without a gimmick to string them together.
You have 4 more chances to catch Twisted: Greeting Card Moments Gone Bad! at the Baldacchino Gypsy Tent – Fort Fringe, 607 New York Avenue, Washington, DC.