Theater Review: Red Turnip's Cock by Mike Bartlett



One small and round stage, four amazing actors, good lighting, an interesting script, and a great crew behind the scenes -- these are the elements that make Red Turnip Theater's staging of Cock by Mike Bartlett an amazing experience.


When I first entered the intimate setting inside Whitespace, I knew this straight play will be different. There were no props at all. Just a lit stage boxed in by rows of chairs for audiences on four sides. Fleetingly, I wondered how a whole story would fit in that small circle but instinctively knew that the skills of Cock's cast and artistic staff would blow us away. And they did.

Cock is the story of a gay man who, during a cooling off period with his longtime male partner, meets and falls in love with a woman. When he and his partner gets back together, he becomes torn between his feelings between the two. Now, John is stuck in the middle and pressured to choose between his boyfriend and his girlfriend who both will not give him up without a fight.


Given the play's title, it is fitting to liken the stage to a pit where cock fights happen. That was how it actually felt during certain scenes and they were very entertaining! I've never imagined that two actors can pull off a sex scene fully clothed, slowly walking on either side of the stage, and just using their voices to set fire to audiences' imaginations. That was kind of surreal and astounding!

More surprises are in store for those who will be watching because all the actors gave truly outstanding performances. Topper Fabregas plays John, Niccolo Manahan plays M the boyfriend, Jenny Jamora plays W the girlfriend, and Audie Gemora plays M's dad, F. These four will take you on a remarkable ride with characters that could be pathetic, bitchy, crazy, insecure, funny, and sarcastic, among others.


In a nutshell, Cock is a story about relationships and how a person may find himself at a crossroad where he has to choose just one path to take towards the future. It's hard to guess who John will pick between M and W but it's not that difficult not to feel engaged in their stories. All of us, after all, have undergone moments where we had to make hard choices, not just in terms of relationships.

Kudos to Rem Zamora in his directorial debut! He has come out of this giant leap and baptism of fire with flying colors. The staging is impeccable! With such a small space, it's very admirable how he made actors move in such a way that they don't accidentally bump into each other all throughout the hour and a half show.


Two thumbs up as well to John Batalla's technical direction and lighting design, Denis Lagdameo's set design, Gold Soon's stage management, and Jethro Joaquin's sound design! 

Catch Cock at Whitespace — 2314 Chino Roces Ave. Extension (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati — on March 7, 14, 21, 28 and April 4 (Friday, 9 p.m.); March 8, 15, 29 and April 5 (Saturday, 8 p.m.); April 5, Saturday at 4 p.m.; March 9, 16, 23 and April 6 (Sunday, 4 p.m.) and special closing gala on April 6, Sunday, 8 p.m.


Tickets are available through TicketWorld (891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph), Red Turnip Theater redturniptheater@gmail.com or https://www.facebook.com/RedTurnipTheater.


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