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May 17 2012
Man, I Feel Like A Woman: A Review Of Cock Comments (0)

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BOY CULTURE RATING: ***-1/2 out of *****

Had the pleasure of seeing the new play Cock, by Mike Bartlett, at The Duke on 42nd Street. Thrillingly staged in the round with the lights up, the play is superminimalist, involving just four actors (and all four only at the end) whose Screen-Shot-2012-04-26-at-7.51.29-AMcharacters are basically arguing whether one of them—John (Cory Michael Smith, pictured)—is gay, straight, bisexual or something else.

After deciding he's unhappy in a longterm relationship with a character denoted as M (Jason Butler Harner), John meets and begins a relationship with a woman, W (Amanda Quaid), for the first time in his gay life. When that also seems not quite right, he goes back...and forth...and back...and forth. He seems incapable of deciding which situation suits him better, and despite being so annoyingly confused, he's capable of keeping his lovers waiting with bated breath.

Things don't necessarily improve when M's dad, aka F (Cotter Smith), is invited to join the warring threesome for a contentious dinner.

As simple as it sounds (and it's only 80 minutes with no intermission, no props and with many important action suggested rather than shown), Cock is complex; gay people might hate the idea of someone gay finding happiness by becoming straight on dime, but the play seems to be very genuinely about the people at hand rather than who they signify, in spite of the clever "M," "F," etc. naming.

The performances are absolutely spot-on (did I mention it's British?)—the actors make the riveting writing even more so. And there's something so clever about staring at them and then, occasionally, across at the other people watching them, watching their faces and reactions.

Cock rocks.

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