Home > To See or Not To See > TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE: “C*ck”


May 18th, 2012

Jason Butler Harner, Amanda Quaid & Cory Michael Smith in "C*ck". Photo by Joan Marcus.


The acclaimed British import by Mike Bartlett, about a young man torn between his boyfriend and the woman he sleeps with, arrives in New York with its controversial title and gladiatorial set in tact.

“…terrific, tense little comedy.” New York Times

“Things get complicated as people fall in and out of it, but this wonderful 90-minute show renders the emotional mess with great simplicity.” New York Post

“Wittily staged in a stylized cock-fighting ring, the contest for the narcissistic love object is a battle royal of wit and persuasion that only breaks down once it becomes obvious (if not to the loveblinded rivals) that this shallow boy isn’t worth all the angst.” Variety

“The painfully funny, intense production…is crisply staged by James Macdonald, who also directed the London show.” Associated Press

Jason Butler Harner & Cory Michael Smith in "Cock". Photo by Joan Marcus.

Mizer’s Two Cents: Raw and riveting, this new play lives up to its title not by providing peepshow thrills but by laying bare the insecurities and compromises of modern love.  The trio of lead actors fearlessly create characters that are not always likable but always recognizable as someone you’ve known, loved…or someone you are. In particular, Amanda Quaid as “W” finds a miraculous roundedness to a character that might raise flags of disbelief in other hands; with only a sketch of background details to support her, she makes us understand the stubbornness and pain that lead “W” to pursue a seemingly unavailable man.

There’s another important character that heightens the scripts battles: the audience. Given the tight arena-like set and the stark lighting, the spectators are as illuminated as the actors. As you watch the bloodsport on stage, you can’t help but also watch the reactions of the faces just beyond them. Like an emotional scoreboard, the audience registers every insult, every ploy and every  emotional charge — couples leaning into and away from each other with laughs (and grimaces) of recognition.

Note: If you are inclined to back trouble, get a seat in the last row. The arena setting does not allow for back rests so the only seats with a bit of relief are those that are against the wall. In addition, this seating plan does not allow for large bags and coats to be stowed under your chair; leave your shopping at home unless you plan to share with everyone.

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