Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Toronto Fringe review: Cootie Catcher

By Nick May

Talking about STI’s can be uncomfortable. Opening up about personal encounters with STI’s is even more uncomfortable. But that doesn’t stop Lucas Brooks in his one-man autobiographical show, Cootie Catcher. Lucas dives headfirst into his love/hate relationship with the dirty aftermath of sexual encounters. His journey from Chlamydia to HPV is told with no holds barred. Comically showing up at clinic after clinic to learn about the newest STI he may have contracted, we get a glimpse into the tremor of nervousness that is left after the condom comes off.

Maslow’s hierarchy defines our three basic needs as Food, Sex and Shelter. And for Lucas (and a lot of people), his need and want for Sex is equal to, if not greater than his need for Food. And I applaud his honesty. Despite the sex-negative physicians he encounters in seeking treatment for infections, Lucas never stops doing what he loves! He has sex, and he enjoys it (safely).

The show is filled with fun dance breaks, a little bit of singing and some audience interaction. We follow Brooks’ travels from art school to sex parties in Brooklyn; from sex with strangers to sex with ‘straight’ boys. All of the stories are relatable to being young and gay in a big city.

The audience at the afternoon performance was small and tough, and I may have been one of the only people stifling laughter at jokes about feeling ‘torn like Natalie Imbruglia’. But that didn’t stop Lucas. Despite a quiet and unresponsive audience, the commitment to telling his story was full of energy and brilliantly executed. 

I applaud Brooks for tackling this sensitive subject unapologetically. The honesty he shares with complete strangers is sometimes missing in even the closest of friendships, and this is admirable.

We all know that using protection can be our best defense against STI’s (sans abstinence). I think that our second line of defense is talking about it, and what better way than in the theatre. Check out Cootie Catcher before it’s too late!

Info and tickets for all Toronto Fringe shows can be found at fringetoronto.com


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