Book tickets online >

Only a percentage of seats can be booked online. If online tickets are sold out please contact the box office on 020 8788 6943 for further availability.

Cock

Cock by Mike Bartlett
Performed on Tuesday 19th - Saturday 23rd January 7.45pm

Cast:

Craig Bates as John

Liam Michael Hallinanas as M

Ian Recordon as F

Ellen Fife as W

Directed by Ian Higham

 

From the writer of the hit BBC drama Dr Foster and the acclaimed West End and Broadway smash King Charles III.

Love is a four-letter word... 

When John takes a break from his boyfriend, he accidentally meets the girl of his dreams. Filled with guilt and indecision, he decides there is only one way to straighten this out... Mike Bartlett's smart, sexy and seriously funny play takes a candid look at one man’s sexuality and the difficulties that arise when you realise you have a choice.
  

First seen at the Royal Court Theatre in 2007, starring Ben Whishaw and Andrew Scott, Cock is  "a smart, prickly and rewarding view of sexual and emotional confusion" (Evening Standard) and "a seriously radical, blackly hilarious feat of provocation" (Independent).

The London amateur premiere produced in association with Nick Hern Books.

 

Reviews:

Cock? Sure.

By Ben Clare

Well, everyone’s been awaiting Ian Higham’sCock with much anticipation and I’m very pleased to report that it didn’t disappoint. For his final production as Artistic Director, Ian chose Mike Bartlett’s brilliantly witty, sharply-written drama. No props, no furniture and just a strip of light surrounding the four sides of the in-the-round stage and the quartet of actors dressed in black. Yet the play and the production are anything but simple.

John (Craig Bates) is having doubts about his relationship with M (Liam Hallinan), who seems very much in the driving seat. And it’s not just his relationship he’s having doubts about when he meets W (Ellen Fife) and begins to consider his sexuality too. John is gradually forced into the position of choosing: M or W, gay or straight - or is he bi? But of course it’s not that simple; nor is John and nor are human beings. This is a shrewd, smart play not just about sexuality but identity itself. Why should we be labelled as one thing or another?

He had to concentrate as he balanced the tiny man between them on his palm
He had to concentrate as he balanced the tiny man between them on his palm

Ian has created a superb production, eliciting wonderfully nuanced performances from his cast. Like fighters in a boxing ring, the characters battle it out with each other, emotionally wrung out as time is called with a snap blackout and the ding ding of the bell. There’s no clutter or stupid miming. Instead, those key moments the actors touch, kiss, hold each other are all the more poignant. In a wonderful scene when John negotiates sex for the first time - not just with W, but with a woman - they stand diagonally opposite each other making no physical contact; their awkward encounter is brilliantly played, as she gives him instructions on what to do.

He didn’t think much of her ‘nude muppet’ routine
He didn’t think much of her ‘nude muppet’ routine

Craig Bates is all tightly wound and nervy. He shows the pain of trying to escape definition with the wonder of his new relationship and the emotional ties of the other. Liam Hallinan is tremendously brusque and domineering but has a wonderful sensitivity and love for his partner. Ellen Fife is a sensational mixture of being straight-talking, sharp-witted and tender. The three finally meet over one of the most excruciating dinner parties you’re likely to witness on stage and, to top it all, M has invited his recently widowed Dad - a spot-on performance from Ian Recordon, who makes a heartfelt plea to John to choose his son over W. It’s a touching moment when he says that, although he wasn’t sure about his son’s sexuality at first, he is just so pleased that he’s happy and that he loves them both.

It would have been disappointing if the play had left you with a neat conclusion. M and W want John to choose. But he still can’t bear to be pinned down. You leave the theatre after 100 unbroken minutes having witnessed an incredible, emotional unravelling with director, cast and creative team brilliantly realising it so seemingly effortlessly but with such skill.

 

Additional Reviews:

'Congrats again on Cock! Absolutely loved it! Felt like I'd just been at the Royal Court. Fabulous directing, fabulous acting. '

'You have to hand it to Ian Higham's Cock - consistently entertaining and ultimately satisfying, dare one say even occasionally thought-provoking - and although quite long, without a break, at no point bordering on painful'

'Cock' last night was as brilliant the third time of seeing it as it was the first. What really surprises me is the difference in the audience reaction while the play is on. Very quiet last night but they still raved about it afterwards. Even people who didn't like the play said the acting/direction was excellent.'

'Saw Cock at Putney Arts Theatre. It's a play by Mike Bartlett, in case you wondered - a very good play that builds neatly and toughly and leaves the audience thinking. Terrific production and performances. (Ellen Fife who plays W is my daughter and knows that I'm a tough critic - and don't praise her acting unless she deserves it. I think this was her best performance to date - and that's in part because of the quality of the direction and the other actors.) If you're in South-West London, it's worth watching out for shows at Putney Arts Theatre.'

 

 

Putney Arts Theatre Terms & Conditions
Please note latecomers are not able to be admitted to all Studio productions. Latecomers may be admitted into Main House productions at the discretion of the Front of House team and during an appropriate point in the performance. Anyone using a mobile phone or attempting to take pictures during a performance may asked to leave.