San Francisco Fringe 2017
Even If It’s Wrong is a funny and heartfelt story of how a middle-aged man finds himself back in Nebraska helping his Dad cope with his Mom’s Alzheimer’s. Selling a junkyard, saying good-bye to the house and getting Dad to move on are the tasks at hand…even if it’s wrong.
Telling fond memories of his parents when he was a young child growing up in Nebraska, Todd Pickering goes on to tell us how he moved to San Francisco and became an actor. He continues his journey and describes his various jobs he does when he is not acting for a living.
Pickering has a resonant voice, a strong presence and makes a good connection with the audience, who respond readily. When still based in San Francisco, he returns home to visit his parents in Nebraska for Christmas. Once there it becomes obvious that there are things that need attending to, such as helping his parents downsize, because they think it’s the right time and their life is fairly simple. This is no mean feat as he digs deeper and deeper!
When describing the interesting sayings and doings of his parents Pickering takes on each of the two characters with exaggerated voice changes – a higher pitched voice for mother and a gruff voice for dad. Friends arrive and we meet them through Pickering’s vocal and physical changes, crisp dialogue and expressive facial reactions. Through recalling memories and reminiscing we really get a feel for the extended group of family and friends in this small town that moves slowly, it’s comfortable to relive some moments from the past.
The one prop on stage is a large month by month calendar, which Pickering uses to good effect – not only to show the timeline as he has to return to Nebraska in between jobs elsewhere, but it also adds humor to the reality of the series of events that unfold. Pickering is relatable and tells countless anecdotes about his characterful parents, about what they should do according to his advice – and what they actually do. It’s entertaining and poignant.
Pickering is physical, larger than life and very funny during a sports story interspersed with how he helps organize his parents and their stuff. During the fifty-five minute show Pickering is lively and dynamic as he acts out his own reactions and emotions – which grow as things develop – and time passes by. This is a very effective show, well crafted and performed – it’s also surprising – with a moving ending.