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Review – Cock: simultaneously thought-provoking and alienating

August 25, 2019

 Pictured: Ashlee Lollback, Julian Curtis, Patrick Farrelly and Derek Draper

 

Cock

By Mike Bartlett

Directed by Helen Howard

Produced by Bosco productions

Metro Arts

Brisbane City

 

Season runs until August 31. Tickets can be found at www.metroarts.com.au  

 

Cock is one of those plays that are controversial enough in content to make you either love or hate it. As divisive in name, as in nature, this Olivier award-winning production by playwright Mike Bartlett sees the life of a young man torn.

John, played by Julian Curtis, is split between the life he thought he wanted and the life he might secretly desire more. He identifies as gay but falls for a woman.

The plot thickens when John’s boyfriend, M, portrayed by Derek Draper finds out about the affair and invites this Other Woman, W – Ashlee Lollback – over for dinner… along with his father, F, played by Patrick Farrelly.

This production was directed by local powerhouse Helen Howard and features a star-studded cast. The set was as minimal as a bare room can get with chairs in corners. The lighting was eerie at times, focussing on each actor as pointedly as a spotlight is capable of. This, coupled with a script that had a notable Absurdist lean, made for a very unusually balanced performance.

Cock is essentially rich and full of material that is simultaneously thought-provoking and alienating. This is not a play for those seeking a happy, magical world full of valiant knights saving damsels in distress from dastardly dragons. It is very much rooted in reality. It is raw. It is confronting.

The team at Bosco Productions have brought to the stage at Metro Arts a play that not only provides audiences with an exercise in daring but also an exercise in self-identity. It asks, ‘who are you really?’ and dares the audience to fundamentally check themselves.

Ultimately Cock seeks to give its side to the whole story. However, with this play being so unusual, not only in direction but also in choice of dialogue, it provides audiences with the chance to either reject or accept its voice.

What was most enjoyable about this production was the acting by a very talented bunch of humans. What wasn’t enjoyable were confronting scenarios given to the audience with no chance to reject what was being given to them.

To this end, you could say Cock is a bit of an experiment, and in that, lies the diamond in the rough worthy of an audience. However, it is not all sunshine and daisies. Come prepared to have your view of life, sexuality and identity shaken up.

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