By Mike Bartlett
Director: Shane Bosher
Reviewed by Xanthe:
A raw and jarringly intimate piece of theatre. Cock explores relationships and feelings in a high energy, tense performance that kept the audience at the edge of our seats. The empty set, surround seating, and lack of mime gave a blank canvas for true characters and emotions to be the forefront of the piece. The only thing for the audience to grip onto was the words and emotions, the way each was twisted and entangled into a both extreme and real situation of love and decisions. The show leaves you questioning, how can you know yourself if you don’t know what you want?
Reviewed by Phil:
John wants out. And so he’s taking a break from his clingy boyfriend. Free from the shackles of a relationship, the last thing he wants is to finally meet the girl of his dreams, caught up in a three-way love triangle puts pressure on John. what’s more important? His boyfriend? Or his reputation?
When you first walk into the theatre showing, you notice the seats styled after a typical Greek Amphitheatre, shaped like a U. This is accompanied by a white stage and a white backdrop, both of which are bare. Due to this simple layout, the play can progress through different stages without fuss.
The style of this piece was definitely contemporary, but, much like what it’s named after, there are references to an asian style of “Cock fighting.” this is seen when the actors circle each other during violent floods of solid red, each sizing up their co-stars during the interactions. The way the actors behave also slightly mimics and humanizes this style of fighting, accommodating for the human anatomy.
When the performance starts, we are introduced to John and his overly clingy boyfriend “M” as they struggle through their relationship for a solid few minutes. The effective performance from both actors really opens up the struggle of both of the characters. The raw, tense emotions from both characters and the way that lighting and no set or props were implemented really made for a very engaging performance.
The real conflict begins with the introduction of “W”, The female love interest of John and the one who, single handedly, manages to disrupt the relationship the two men have. The actress did an amazing job at capturing the typical female love interest and the sustained character really gave the story substance. The conflict furthers when “F”, “M”’s father, comes into the picture, again this really added to the conflict and gave John something to fight for and opened up a host of questions pertaining to his real sexuality.
Overall, I really enjoyed “Cock” and felt that it was a really well put together show. The way the actors portrayed the conflict and the underlying questions the show left me with afterwards were really interesting. The play is a raw, saucy look into sexualities, relationships and the feelings of love. I would give Cock a 9.5 out of 10 for it’s simple design, interesting plot and overall cool premise. Cock is a very unique play that I doubt others will try to emulate any time soon. I would recommend it to people who like short performances with interesting premises or for people who want to try something new with their theatre going experience. The play runs until the 9th of November in Circa One.