Cock ★★★★ Ambassadors Theatre | Mar 5 - Jun 4, 2022


Sexuality is not a binary and neither is love/hate. Both are on a spectrum and Cock deals with the complex nature of sexual identity and emotional interdependence. At the centre of this dilemma is John, brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Bailey. He has been in a long term gay relationship but gradually realises that he is also attracted to a woman. Suddenly he is in a love triangle that exposes both how little he knows himself and how damaged he is. He has allowed others to define him and now he is torn between his bitchy, bullying, yet vulnerable, lover of seven years perfectly played by Taron Egerton, and a young woman whom he barely knows, but who promises to share the perfect romantic dream. As the third point in the triangle, Jade Anouka does a fine job of creating a character who while apparently clear-eyed still sees what she wants, rather than recognising her new love's reality. Mike Bartlett has created convincingly complicated characters who struggle to do the right thing and to be true to themselves, but their interaction seems to lead to exposure, not growth. The dialogue has echoes of David Mamet, as does the irresolute nature of the work's conclusion. The production is a tour de force of acting and a bleak reminder of the complexities of the human heart.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

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