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.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Cast List: Cory Michael Smith Jason Butler Harner Amanda Quaid Cotter Smith Production Credits: Directed by James Macdonald Other Credits: Written by: Mike Bartlett|||

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.

— Rosenblit, entertainment editor at Details

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