In two years, David Rodwin went out with 120 women. Evidently, that changes a man. F*ck Tinder, Rodwin’s solo show on his dating life, ranges from deep vulnerability to unrestrained boasting; it’s a wild time, good enough at least for a first date.
Rodwin is a ‘The Moth’ StorySLAM winner, which means he has some experience telling true stories to a crowd without notes. And he is bringing this show on a 10 week tour of the United States and Canada. Those two facts unlock the best and worst of F*ck Tinder.
Without a doubt, Rodwin leads a charmed life. Every episode of the Moth’s podcast ends with the wish that you, the listener, have a story-worthy weekend. Rodwin’s past few years were packed with them! Be it the first date who brought her baby to his supremely not-baby-proofed apartment, a heartbreaking conversation over a pill bottle left in the living room, or going to an orgy with a woman who couldn’t love him back, every 10 minutes of F*ck Tinder deserves to be its own Moth story,
Rodwin’s performance too is well-designed for the Moth’s radio audience. His rich voice effortlessly carries the audience from raucous laughter to solemn focus. But the Moth often stands performers in front of a stationary mic with a focused spotlight. For much of the show, Rodwin habitually sticks to this limitation. While his story goes every which way and the top half of his body is animated to match, his feet remain nailed to the floor.
F*ck Tinder: a love story
closes July 28, 2018
Details and tickets
The story too seems like a better fit for shorter segments. Life is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense. At nearly 80 minutes, F*ck Tinder struggles to find a coherent throughline that can reach every anecdote Rodwin wants to share. Even when it works its way up to a pretty solid moral, an epilogue throws all that out with a surprise twist, only possible because real life can’t resist bucking a clear trend.
The story is especially disappointing if you expected to see an exploration of your average person’s journey through modern dating. As Rodwin goes into a second montage listing remarkable women he dated in rapid succession, it’s hard to see any conflict to the story or much identifiable in such a wild life. It especially rings hollow when he ends the montage with a pitch: If you want to hear more, you should really go on my website and preorder the book!
To be fair, F*ck Tinder occasionally pries the nails out of Rodwin’s feet and lets him loose. At his best, Rodwin is bounding around the stage, reliving some incredible party with a bit of music and lighting to accompany him, a touch of technical design in a show meant to travel all across this continent. The lights often switch to red or blue to signal a particular turn in mood. But, they aren’t the best lights, given the limitation of the venue. There is a strange, otherworldly, buzzing grind that echoes from at least the blue PAR can when it turns on. Surprisingly, that works really well when the show is taking a sober turn!
Some of the other odd elements brought by touring to this Fringe venue don’t work quite as well. I’ve yet to figure out how to pronounce the * quite right. First off, telling a Fringe box office person which show I was going to meant saying, “Fuck Tinder,” rang surprisingly loudly in the church. There’s a door right next to the “stage” end of the room, which must remain cracked open to permit an extension cord, but also invites in whatever church chatter is happening in the hallway. In a show with near constant discussions of sex, some very detailed, the idea of either conversation leaking into the other is off-putting.
Another artifact of this show being performed wherever it can be with whatever is available is the seating. Christ United Methodist Church, as it turns out, has precious few folding chairs but all the floral couches and wooden chairs necessary to turn the space into your grandma’s living room. Several other shows might benefit from the cozy if dated feel of the place. This show has nothing of grandma in it. Though, admittedly, that’s for the best.
For much of F*ck Tinder, you will be transfixed. Rodwin’s life is too remarkable, his vocal delivery too skilled, for you not to be charmed, at times. But the story would probably be better told broken up while meeting him at a bar on your first date.
F*ck Tinder: a love story. Written and performed by David Rodwin. Reviewed by Marshall Bradshaw.