BWW Review: Bartlett's COCK Not For Everyone
COCK/by Mike Bartlett/directed by Michael Yavnieli/The Beverly Hills Playhouse/thru November 17, 2019
Mike Bartlett's COCK presents an unsympathetic take on a man questioning his sexuality as he cheats on his male lover with a woman he keeps running into on his morning route to work. John vacillates between being turned on by M, his hunky, but very mean lover, and being brought to sexual ecstasy by W, a needy woman, possibly his first.
Overall staging's quite avant-garde, as the stage device of turning one's back to the audience to signify exiting is only intermittently utilized. No physical contact in this Michael Yavnieli-directed COCK, except for M hugging his father F; not even holding of hands as indicated in the dialogue. The sex scene between John and W has been staged with the two actors positioned three feet from each other and facing in the opposite directions. Additionally, the actors sometimes face each other in talking to each other; other times they face the audience instead.
The provocative title's wasted as it's only relevant usage is the sound effect of a rooster crowing in the scene-ending blackouts. Only 'adult' terminology was 'vagina' and 'tits.'
Kudos to all four actors for their commitment to their word-heavy dialogue and unlikeable characters - Miles Cooper as the indecisive John, Andrew Creer as the bombastic M, Caroline Gottlieb as the forlorn W pursuing a gay man, and Robert R Ryel as the least unsympathetic, woke and supportive F.
The simple, un-credited set design consists of four clear acrylic chairs on the otherwise bare stage.