With abundant costume changes and a boisterous one-woman lead, Climate, Cancer, and 7 Celibate Men makes for an energetic and engaging Fringe Fest production. Under Ali Miller’s deft direction, the show runs quickly, just over one hour, even while taking the form of one long-running train of thought, throughout which Caroline Howe (Writer/Performer) narrates her journey toward body positivity. She homes in on three specific things, detailing the ways that titular climate, cancer, and seven celibate men helped her get there.
Howe is an earnest, charismatic performer, so it is easy to be swept up in her story and underlying passion for climate change. Her story is accompanied by minimal technical elements, relying mostly on storytelling force, but Silvere Boitel does see that all lights, costumes, and production design match Howe’s general vibe at each moment. To top it off, scene changes are speckled with the music of Diana Ross and Lizzo, adding to the infectious energy of the play.
For this reason, the entire production feels hopeful, if not a bit naive as well. Howe’s vivacity about her body brings much to the table, but it does seem unintentionally unmindful at times. For example, it is hard not to contextualize the show within the conversation that women like Lizzo herself are having around how the body positivity movement is currently being co-opted and commodified.
All of that said, though, what Howe has written is thoroughly entertaining, and she does a great job of showing how each piece is connected to the grand lesson of it all: how climate and body are connected. That’s where Howe really strikes gold, as she ponders the stunning conclusion that our one body is really like our one earth. We must be better about learning how to live and love in both.
Running Time: 65 minutes, no intermission.
Climate, Cancer, and 7 Celibate Men: A Queer Comedy plays five times from July 15 to 24, 2022, at 23rd Amendment – Formerly Washington Sports Club, 3270 M Street NW, Washington, DC. To see the performance schedule and purchase tickets ($15), go online.
COVID Safety: The audience is to remain masked for the show. The mask needs to cover your mouth and nose the whole time. Proof of vaccination and ID are checked before entry.
Director: Ali Miller
Playwright: Caroline Howe
Performers: Caroline Howe
Age appropriateness: Appropriate for Adults Only