Friday, March 6, 2015

FRIGID New York - "Cootie Catcher" - Circle, circle, dot, dot, now I've got my cootie shot

By Byrne Harrison

While it is one of my favorite NYC festivals, the fates conspired to keep me away from much of this year's FRIGID New York Festival.  I did, however, carve out time to see the latest production of Lucas Brooks' one-man comedy, Cootie Catcher. In this funny, clever, and at times touching show, Brooks takes the audience on a little journey through his brushes with sexually transmitted infections.

The show features several of Brooks' hot sexual encounters, each with an anxiety-laden twist--brushes with gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, HIV, and herpes (though the last is essentially an opportunity for Brooks to humblebrag about hooking up with a good looking straight guy… but it's still a great story).  Brooks is a sex-educator and vocal proponent of safe sex, so most of these encounters were merely embarrassing for him or good learning experiences.

I've seen the show several times, from its initial workshop in director David Drake's solo show class to two full productions.  Each production has been tighter than the previous, with some new material and a lot of polishing.  Certain moments--dance breaks between scenes, for instance--have Drake's fingerprints on them.  This collaboration between Brooks and Drake is a particularly strong one, since they really seem to understand each other's style.

Brooks is an attractive and charming guy.  He's a fixture in the NYC burlesque scene, and his previous show, VGL 5'4" Top, describes him to a T.  But this isn't a vapid, eye candy show; he has the looks and the fierce intellect to back it up.  Brooks is insightful, a good storyteller, and funny.  His message includes loving and accepting yourself, being true to who you are, and not letting anyone attempt to shame you for that truth.  The fact that he can do that in an hour, and with a lot of laughter, makes this show a don't miss.

Cootie Catcher plays its final performance Friday, March 6th at 5:30 PM.  For more information, visit the FRIGID New York website.

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