BWW Reviews: COCK Fight, PART 1 - Edge Theater
This is part 1 in a two-part review of Cock, featuring both The Edge and Avenue Theater's concurring productions.
You can only expect so much from a play called Cock--but that's only one of the ways this absorbing piece of theatre will surprise you. Two Denver companies are currently tackling the piece. Denver's The Edge Theater Company got the rights to the regional premiere, and it's currently playing alongside the same title at Avenue Theatre.
The Olivier award-winning production made its premiere in London in 2009 before making its New York off-Broadway debut in 2012.
Cock by Mike Bartlett centers on John, who, while taking a break from his male partner "M," falls for a woman, "W". He's then forced to choose one. There's also "F," but I won't spoil who he is.
At the heart of Cock is a story about how we define love...and why we feel we must. On one side, John's male partner has longevity-he's always been there, and John's been attracted to men his whole life. But on the other side is a new adventure. She makes him feel something fresh physically-mature, even-and she's society's norm.
If you don't count the clever cockfight-style arena (designed by Christopher Waller), the show is completely void of any set or props, just the way the authort intended. With the audience on three sides, the entirety of the two-hour drama is fortified with blocking you could consider choreography. The lighting design by Stevie Caldarola beautifully enhances the show's poignant moments.
Michael Bouchard plays John like an everyman. His emotions unfold gradually throughout the show until he eventually bares it all. He's charming in a goofy, understated manner.
Folkins gives one of the strongest performances of the show as John's partner. Riding a fine line between honest and gratuitous flamboyancy (with a few brilliant bitchy quips), he gives "M" the sincerity you'd find in a partner grasping to keep a relationship.
While you might expect (or want) John's woman on the side to be somewhat unlikable, Rachel Bouchard lends her a compelling warmth and wisdom. A married couple in real life, the Bouchards radiate a distinctive harmony. Chris Kendall's F (OK, he's M's father) has the wisdom of a professor, giving another bold side to the argument.
It's not long before the show engulfs you like a beautifully executed wrestling match. Not a single movement seems out of place. Unless I missed it, I don't recall the actors even touching. The darkness of the space envelops you in the show's more dramatic moments.
Sexuality, like cock, can have numerous definitions-just in case you didn't figure out the title for yourself yet.
Cock plays through April 5 at the Edge Theater (1560 Teller Street) in Lakewood. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at theedgetheater.com or by calling (303)232-0363.