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Why You Should See a Play Called Cock


No one gets naked in Cock—the new Olivier Award-winning play from London's Royal Court Theatre, which opens in New York City this week—but the story is still plenty provocative.

John (Cory Michael Smith), a young gay man with existential doubts about his relationship with M (Jason Butler Harner), finds a new love in the form of a woman, W (Amanda Quaid), and has lots of jilted-lover anger to answer for: Is John gay? Confused? What does he want and why isn't he sure? Can romantic love really be gender-neutral?

As M and W grapple with the idea that they alone might never be enough for John, their insecurities ignite and the barbs fly like fireworks. The play's cleverly staged in a theater-in-the-round, as all three go head-to-head in a cockfight-worthy battle of egos, with M's dad (Cotter Smith) intervening to remind his son's ex-boyfriend what he's giving up. All four actors do justice to a very funny script, with a standout performance from Harner, who deftly turns M's dig-slinging, brash indignance into real vulnerability. Shock value of the title aside, Cock feels just how good Off Broadway theater should: intimate in scope but tackling the big questions about how we live.

Cock opens May 17 and runs through July 22 at the Duke theater.

—Rachel Rosenblit, entertainment editor at Details


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Photo: Joan Marcus
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