I think it's safe to say that there is no one like Tyler Crose on any Fringe stage. I think it's also safe to say that if you go to Tyler's Time Out, a half-hour of high jinks hosted by the ebullient Mr. Crose, it’ll be almost impossible not to have a good time.
Tyler's Time Out comes to us from Theatre eXceptional, which produces shows with and about persons with disability. Tyler has Down syndrome, so his diction's not always perfectly comprehensible, but his sense of humor and boundless energy are clear as can be. His sister — Theatre eXceptional co-founder Brianna Larsen — acts as co-host, guiding the action with a lovely sense of bemused fondness, but he's the star.
Echoing the DIY whimsy of Pee Wee's Playhouse, the stage is divided into three areas — a DJ booth, a kitchen, and an art studio — and each forms the backdrop for a different segment. It's a little bit risky to describe what happens, as every performance is different, says Larsen. But on Saturday afternoon, Tyler led a singalong and a dance routine (the man's got moves); concocted a highly idiosyncratic version of “pasketti and meatballs” (concluding with a surprise reveal from Uber Eats); and drew a picture of an audience member while interrogating her, in much detail, about her life and her family. He was canny, candid and a showman all the way, a red-headed powerhouse with an irrepressible joie de vivre.
In the final segment, he answered questions submitted by the audience. The first one, full disclosure, was mine, and OK, it was a bit of a softball: "Tyler, How did you get so cool?" But his answer, in its mix of bombastic self-confidence and wry self-awareness, empowerment and entertainment, sums up why you really, really should go see Tyler's Time Out:
"I was born this way!"
The final performance of Tyler's Time Out in the Tampa International Fringe Festival takes place tonight, Sunday, March 14, at 7:50 p.m. at Silver Meteor Gallery, 2213 E. 6th Ave. Purchase Fringe buttons and tickets at the venue or at New World Brewery. For more info on the Fringe, go to tampafringe.org.