Goethe Institut Gallery

812 7th Street NW

Remaining Performances:

Saturday, July 17 at 2:30 pm
Sunday, July 18 at 2:00 pm
Thursday, July 22 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 24 at 6:00 pm
Sunday, July 25 at 11:30 am

They Say: “In the city, nothing is quite what it seems.  The handsome guy is not always Prince Charming and you can never tell a wolf by his big teeth.  An ensemble piece exploring what really happens after ‘once upon a time…’”

Ann’s Take: As promised, the Eleventh Hour Ensemble turns the Brothers Grimm on their head. Two “wolves” attack each other, in ways of which Grandma would not approve. Spacey “Cinderella” can’t get his act together, while “Prince Charming” has his political career to consider. “Gretel” has one coming for the witch in the office. And, the “frogs” are just not that into the high-maintenance “princess.” Twisted is loosely based on the fairytale canon, knowing exactly when to lean on our prior literary knowledge and when to dive off into fresh, new territory.

Seven souls in search of happy endings cross paths in the bustle of DC, while a mysterious author looks on, scribbling in his notepad. The central stories revolve around a budding romance between teacher and student, the dating debacles of one hard-to-please twenty-something, and a caterer’s search for someone to love him, or at least someone who will come home after promiscuous romps.

These stories wrap together, not so tightly but believably enough, into an underlying exploration of the human need to create our own choose-your-own-adventure (and the writer’s block that often results). Characters plead with the author for happier plot lines, their fate in his hands. At other times the author questions the characters’ choices, emphasizing their own free will. The subtext is maybe less developed than the quick-witted script, but as Fringe-goers we’re not intending to see a magnum opus, right?

One of the joys of watching the piece is to feast upon the ways in which Twisted uses timely material, including some hilarious census worker bits, to support the reimagining of the Grimm brothers’ work. The Ensemble has also peppered the script with District references delivering guaranteed roars from the audience. Who doesn’t love a fable that includes the pink cupcake truck? Special shout out to the intentionally awkward dance breaks in the middle of the performance. They sometimes made the show feel a little homemade, but when the interludes worked, they did their job well.

Under the superb direction of Jennifer Crooks, the remarkable acting and clever creations of the Eleventh Hour Ensemble make for a perfect Fringe show. Funny, wise, and just under an hour, Twisted leaves its audience wanting just a little bit more.

See it if: You’re ready for Little Red to come of age.

Skip it if: Birds help you get dressed in the morning.