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Cock, the play – a review.

Cock, Circa Theatre, written by Mark Bartlett, directed by Shane Bosher. Until November 9.

The audience is raked towards the actors.
There is no scenery,
no props, no furniture and no mime.
Instead the focus is entirely on the drama of the scene.

Mike Bartlett’s play is so packed to the brim with ideas that a plain, prop-less white stage seems necessary to stop them all jumping out into the audience.

Essentially a show about manners, we follow John (Jack Buchanan), who is in a relationship with M (Simon Leary), and cheats on him with W (Karin McCracken). John must navigate through this mess, and work through the betrayal along with struggles about his sexuality.

The relationships in Cock are portrayed through a seemingly chaotic number of scenes until a pattern emerges amidst the intense bickering, and we start to understand more about the characters and their intentions.

A show like Cock greatly relies on the quality of the performances – all we have is the drama,  and every performance is beautifully portrayed. McCraken is constantly circling – like a cock in a cock fight, Leary’s ‘M’ is caught between the past and the future and seemingly unable to do much about either, and Buchanan’s slowly disintegrating John uses every part of his body to convey his emotions. Director Shane Bosher has managed to choreograph all these moves into something organic and honest.

As the final scene fades the audience is left to struggle with bigger questions about how humans lie, cheat, compromise, and hurt in relationships – and where it all leads us in the end.

Cock is a well-directed, well-written and well-thought out play that is well worth seeing.