Cock (3 stars)

Mike Bartlett's drama of a love triangle, choices, and cheesecake

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Cock

James Anthony Pearson as John in Cock / credit: John Johnston

Mike Bartlett’s comedy drama Cock, directed by the Tron's Andy Arnold, is like an interminable game of kiss chase played by adults. Sexually confused, selfish John (James Anthony Pearson) is feeling restricted in his long-term relationship with vulnerable older partner M (Johnny McKnight) and no amount of cooking and cajoling will convince him to leave new lover, bolshy W (Isobel McArthur).

So, who better to sort out their domestic problems than M’s obnoxious father (Vincent Friell)? Invited over by M to (appropriately enough) a beef dinner at the couple’s flat, which turns sour long before dessert is served, his dad manages to combine liberal attitudes towards homosexuality with some good old fashioned sexism.

Bartlett’s scattergun dialogue is brutal and funny, with moments of real tenderness. But the Woody Allen-lite sex scene, in which we hear inner monologues, is ill-judged, the choreography of clumsy mating dances a little dated, and W feels more like a plot device than a well-rounded female character.

Still, the strong cast of four bring energy to a script full of pithy observations on submerged identity, peer pressure and middle-class anxieties. This along with a volley of filthy, misanthropic zingers makes for an absorbing production, rather than one that's merely half-cocked.

Tron Theatre, Glasgow, until Sat 20 Feb; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 25–Sat 27 Feb.

Cock

A bisexual man is confused about what he wants when he falls for both a man and a woman.

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