Love a Good Play
Published in

Love a Good Play

Cock

Ambassadors Theatre, March 7, 2022

Jade Anouka, Jonathan Bailey, Taron Egerton, Phil Daniels

Mike Bartlett’s 2009 play is back with a super starry cast. Taron Egerton is back on stage. I saw his first play after RADA, Last of the Haussmann at the NT with Julie Walters, Helen McRory and Rory Kinear. It was wonderful.

Here he shares the stage with Jonathon Bailey (yes him from Bridgerton), Jade Anouka and Phil Daniels.

Bailey is the central character John who has been happily gay since university and is in a 7 year relationship with rich Broker, Egerton. They’re on a break when John meets a woman, Anouka. They end up having sex and John has a revelation: he prefers sex with women more than men.

In the final “cock-fight” scenes woman and man (they are not given names) are fighting over John, asking him to make a decision. Who do you want to be?

It’s a fascinating exploration of sexuality and humanity. John asks why we’re all obsessed with “what people are” rather than “who people are”.

Why is it important what he has sex with, rather than who he has sex with?

Directed by the magnificent Marianne Elliott this is set in a mirrored box. It made me think of the concept of holding a mirror to people to allow them to truly see themselves. And also how social media/society can distort that.

Gestures and balletic movements take the place of pouring wine or having sex or even being naked. It’s quite beautiful to watch although I occassionally wondered if this wasn't a bit too drama school.

The genius move is the stage revolves that allow the characters to move slowly away from and towards each other. We’re all on different planes. Clever.

It reminded me of Jamie Lloyd’s Pinter’s Betrayal pre pandemic. Stripped back. Nowhere to hide. Allowing the performances to shine.

Still in preview, as I left I saw the creative team collect to review the evening. Love seeing that glimpse of creatives at work.

One gripe. The theatre is tight and the smallest seats I’ve ever sat in. At 5ft2, I was struggling. That can’t be right.

4/5 Cockadoddledo

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Janet Hitchen

Janet Hitchen

Laugh, practise yoga, drink tea, eat cake, read lots, digital book clubber, theatre geek, Young Patron of the NT, Mum to Milly, my BT.