Review: Cock at The Other Theatre

By Laura Heuston


Cock presents its audience with the age old love triangle, but in a modern way. John (Luke Yager) has always thought he was gay, but his affair with W (Phoebe Heath) brings this into question. But then again, he isn’t strictly bisexual either, as there have never been any other women. So what is he? And, probably more importantly for the other characters in the play, what or who does he want?


We never truly get an answer to these questions (I have to note that pansexuality is never mentioned as an option), as John spends a lot of the time allowing the other characters to speak for and about him, each pushing their own understandable but flawed agenda. When he does speak he expresses what seem to be truly genuine feelings for them both, neglecting of course, the fact that his insistence on remaining in their lives is becoming more damaging with every word. They don’t want him to leave though, but rather choose them, redeeming John’s toxicity to an extent by actively encouraging it. The absence of miming, props, and set reflects John’s fundamental problem- all the characters talk as if they are doing something, while very clearly not.


The individuals’ treatment of John further prevents the audience from taking a side- M (Tom Crotty) blurs the line between honesty and cruelty constantly, while W manipulates identity politics and the desire for courtesy to invalidate her opponents without addressing the content of their points. This role is played expertly by Phoebe Heath, who never drops her close-to-bubbling-over manic energy for a second, while presenting clearly flawed arguments in the completely assured manner of someone who believes that progressiveness is on their side. This is not to say that M and F (Peter Hayes) are necessarily right, and Peter Hayes, who only joins in the third act, does an excellent job of portraying an older man who loves his gay son, and has attempted to learn about sexuality and gay history, but doesn’t have quite the grasp of the younger generations who have been raised on it.


Tom Crotty also shines as M, who, while initially appearing to be manipulative and powerful in the relationship, reveals a deep-seeded insecurity that drives his attachment to John and desire to be chosen by him. While constantly engaging in deception of himself and others, to varying degrees of success, he still manages to appear as the most honest of him, John and W, adding to his sympathy. The most subtle performance however, is that of Luke Yager, who ensures that John’s indecision is cruel enough that the other characters don’t look like terrible people, but he is sweet enough that they could plausibly be in love with him.


Director Eugene Lynch should be applauded for this fantastic production, which leaves the audience feeling unsettled and like they may have learnt something about their own relationships. My only wish is that it could have run longer.



Photos Supplied by Laura Heuston.

All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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