Cootie Catcher (Lucas Brooks) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

cootie catcher 1Cootie Catcher is a one-man show written by, and starring Lucas Brooks, presented by the Toronto Fringe Festival. Switching hats between performer and sex educator, Brooks details his experiences as a sex positive person and his close encounters with STIs and sex negativity.

In my non-theatre life, I am a burgeoning (read: wannabe) sex educator and like Brooks, a self-professed ethical slut. STIs are something I need to think about, and additionally, one of my favourite subject matters to teach is “STIs and STI Prevention 101”.

Naturally, I was drawn to this show since it combined a few of the things that I’m quite passionate about.

Throughout the course of the show, Brooks addresses all the major STIs through usage of a literal cootie catcher – each one can be found behind the numbers on the paper fortune teller. We tell him the colours and numbers, and he tells us a personal story relating to each infection.

Each story is preceded by a short, accompanying burlesque number – my personal favourite being the Shirley Bassey rendition of P!nk’s “Get the Party Started” before his herpes story.

I want to commend Brooks for his bravery in being so honest about his experiences, not just in regards to STIs, but also with his checkerboard encounters with the medical community.

The sex educator in me thinks this is an important show to see, and conveys a lot of what I believe in very effectively.

I think that folks with lingering phobias of STIs really ought to see this show, and those involved in sex positivity will also appreciate its message. I wish that a show like this could be used as a supplement to Sex Ed.

On the other hand, the theatre artist in me felt that something was missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I liked this show, but I had slightly higher hopes for it. Maybe it was the low energy of the crowd I was with – oftentimes I felt like I was one of the only people laughing.

Perhaps the burlesque numbers could have been a bit longer and more elaborate. I enjoyed them, but they left my wanting more. Maybe there could have been a little more audience participation to dispel some of the awkwardness. Maybe it shouldn’t just be a one person show. Again, I can’t identify it directly.

All in all though, I want to say that I did really enjoy this piece, and I would certainly recommend “catching” it while in town!


  • Cootie Catcher plays at the Factory Theatre Studio. (125 Bathurst street)
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.
Remaining Showtimes

July 04 at 10:30 PM
July 06 at 04:45 PM
July 07 at 03:00 PM
July 08 at 07:30 PM
July 10 at 04:00 PM
July 11 at 04:00 PM

Photo of Lucas Brooks provided by company