Caitlin Cook and A.J. Holmes: The Writing on the Stall

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Caitlin Cook and A.J. Holmes

The Writing on the Stall

Blue Strawberry, St. Louis, MO, June 1 & 2, 2024

Reviewed James Lindhorst

Caitlin Cook

Caitlin Cook brought her one-woman musical The Writing on the Stall to Blue Strawberry Showroom and Lounge for two shows over the weekend of June 1 & 2, 2024. Cook, a songwriting social-media sensation, has penned a musical asserting that bathroom graffiti is art. She started her show seated on a commode and asked the audience for toilet paper. She has taken her audience into the female sanctuary and confessional, a public restroom at a busy nightclub. It’s there that she explained that the writings on the bathroom wall were the rawest form of artistic self-expression, and she launched into the first of her half-dozen songs.

Cook, who was as sharp-witted and quick on her feet as an experienced stand-up comic, accompanied herself on her acoustic guitar and entertained the audience with her hilarious song lyrics, all composed entirely from bathroom graffiti that she had read or that others had sent to her. She detailed the differences between the graffiti in the ladies’ room with those in the men’s room. According to Cook, women mostly wrote supportive messages of hope and love, while men simply drew pictures of male genitalia as cartoon caricatures. It was a riotous, laugh-out-loud bit. She let the men in on the secrets of the women’s bathroom. It seems that the women’s bathroom is a special place, a confessional of sorts where women share their deepest secrets, fears, and desires.

Cook then shared a story about a dark period in her life. As a 17-year-old girl she was involved in an incident that forever changed her; her presentation of the events was raw and unfiltered. But she credited the humorous bathroom art as one of the things that kept her laughing through a very dark period. Whether her account was true or fiction scripted for story arc, is unknown, but her genuine authenticity had connected her with her audience.

Cook is a songwriter, musician, actor, comedian, performer, and scholar. She holds a master’s degree in art history from Oxford University in England. She has found the influence of classical art in bathroom graffiti, and she left us with these three indelible messages: bathroom graffiti is art; it is the purest form of self-expression; and art is everywhere you look. Her show The Writing on the Stall was hilarious and poignant, and it’s highly recommended.

Cook’s fiancé, A.J. Holmes, served as her director and tour manager. He has traveled the world playing Elder Cunningham in The Book of Mormon, which included stints on Broadway and in London’s West End. He was a member of the company of the reigning Tony Award-winning best musical Kimberly Akimbo. Before the show began on Sunday evening, Holmes took a seat behind the grand piano on the Blue Strawberry stage and previewed his upcoming cabaret show at 54 Below in New York City. Holmes is a proficient musician and an outstanding vocalist, and he shared Cook’s penchant for writing witty tunes.

Visit Caitlin Cook’s website for information on this show and her other projects. Live entertainment continues at the Blue Strawberry, with details available HERE.

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