REVIEW: Cock

Laura Kebby -

Entertainment Theatre

I feel like this should have been self explanatory but this review is most definitely NSFW, I mean the play is called Cock. This review, along with the play, is also not suitable for children but I will tell you two things. “F**k-puppetry” is now my favourite word, oh and the play is really really good.

I wandered into the packed out Royal Exchange theatre last Thursday, honestly unsure of what to expect. As someone who hasn’t really taken the time to immerse myself into the local theatre scene, it’s really easy to label going to see a play or a performance, as a passive experience. A way to get your daily dose of culture and any excuse to leave the house and meet your social quota for the week. But, as the lights dimmed and the first scene began, I instantly felt a part of something, connected to something and most importantly thoroughly invested in the outcome.

Written by Mike Bartlett, Cock is so much more about switching off from your own life for a mere moment, to gain an intimate insight into the life of the protagonist, John. Someone who is (excuse the expression) cock deep in the frustrating consequences of intimacy and emotional attachment. Caught in a (very) modern day love triangle, John finds himself not only questioning his relationship with his long term male parter, but whilst simultaneously falling for a woman, begins to question his sexuality as well.

The few, erotically intense, sex scenes littered throughout the 90 minutes were both well placed, and extremely intimate. Although these particular scenes relied only on an audible walkthrough, you could still cut the sexual tension in the room with chopstick

Benjamin Louttit’s, portrayal of John was so immersive and exceptional I had to actually confirm that this is the same Benjamin Louttit who fronts the incredible local punk outfit Safe Hands. For me, Ben is John, and if I so happened to bump into him in the street I would have to resist the overwhelming urge to ask if everything is still going ok, and regardless of outcome, whether he was able to keep the apartment. To me this is a reflection of both good writing and intense commitment to the character, both of which were exceptional.

It was Drew Holmes’ performance though which really stole the show for me. He layered a stoic and unwilling sense of vulnerability with a brash flamboyance which called for me to become emotionally invested in both the story and the characters involved. Seasoned actress Elise Bialek also gave a very solid performance, and fit the part to a T.

Bottom line? Cock makes for an incredibly intense and overwhelmingly intimate audience experience. Director Matthew Lee did a really great job of emulating the fly on the wall experience, forcing every audience member to draw their own conclusion about the ending. Something, which four days later, I am still contemplating. The story itself throws a lot of questions to the audience, and forces you to reevaluate the labels we place on ourselves, our loved ones, and most importantly the rigidity of sexuality.

Keen to see what all the fuss is about? Ready to question whether you’re actually watching (or more accurately listening porn) in a packed out public theatre (in the best possible way)? then head to the Royal Exchange from Wednesday the 15th of November to Sunday the 19th of November inclusive, for the second run of this

If it's on in Newcastle, it's on Newcastle Live

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