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40 Something Still Single – Orlando Fringe Festival

40 Something Still Single Pic40 Something Still Single
Cougar Comedy Productions – Orlando, FL
18+
60 min.
Green venue
$10
Remaining showtimes: 5/18, 7:30 p.m.; 5/19, 6:15 p.m.; 5/20, 7:45 p.m.; 5/21, 5:30 p.m.; 5/24, 6:15 p.m.; 5/25, 11:30 a.m.
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By Kimberly A. Brown

Being a straight and single lady in Orlando ain’t easy. I speak from experience. But Carol Touhy’s got a decade-plus more experience than myself in that department, and she’ll tell you all about it at this year’s Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival. Her one-woman play outlines the trials and tribulations of a middle-aged woman who’s never been married. (And 40-something is also the female sexual peak, she is sure to remind us.)

The show begins simply enough—Tuohy emerges clad in black, carrying a boom box and doing a slight shimmy, raising the roof to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” She speaks candidly to the audience about her status. She had her life all planned out at 14, she tells us. She visits the self-help section of the bookstore when her plan to marry at 26 doesn’t pan out.

There’s a big gap in her tale at this point, and we find ourselves suddenly in the present, going on nightmare Match.com dates—the clean freak, the misogynist and the old rich “troll that got away.” Her impressions are quite funny, although you quickly assume embellishment for the sake of the humor—could a man that awful truly exist? Who takes a call in the middle of a first date? And refers to a friend’s ex-wife as “that bitch” during said call?

Personally, I would have liked more back story. After all, 27 to 40-something isn’t exactly an era to overlook in the tale of a single woman. I felt there had to be more to it—was she focused on school? Career? Did she relocate? Did she have a bad relationship in her younger years?

Instead, it felt as though we just got plopped down in 2014—here I am, deal with it. Really, I wanted something relatable for me, and I’m guessing the rest of the audience had some questions as well. But then again, perhaps she is choosing to live more in the now—in which case, props to her for not agonizing over the past.

Her gumption and raw honesty are admirable, and there are some definite laughs. At times the show feels more like a standup act than a one-woman play.

Some of the jokes are a bit stale, some are just downright funny. But a few are poignant. When she reads the self-help books’ advice on how to keep a man (cooking, cleaning, fireball in bed), she finds herself wondering if she’d even want to. She mocks society’s unaccepting attitude toward single older women, assuming she’s either flawed or a lesbian—an alternative lifestyle now more embraced than a lady of a certain age, alone with her cats.

And there are some awkward chuckles, too (bound to happen when one of your props is a dildo attached to a power drill).

Overall, Tuohy’s show is a fun and courageous one. But it’s not terribly revelatory. If you’re hoping for an empowering, reassuring end to her story of singledom, as I was, I’m sorry to say you won’t really find it. In her quest for funny, she often seems to reaffirm the attitudes she simultaneously shuns.

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