Cock Rehearsal 792X447.

Cock

By Mike Bartlett

Minerva TheatreTickets
In The Round
Price: from £20

Overview

I suppose I like both, but that's okay isn't it, that's okay?

Has John straightened out? After years glued to his boyfriend, the couple have been through a sticky patch, and now John’s attached to someone else. Someone who is different in every single way. But can John give her what she wants, when he’s never been with a woman before?

Funny and eye-openingly fresh and frank, Cock is a provocative peep into relationships in these days of oscillating identities. It tussles with knotty twenty-first century questions: can we – and should we be allowed to – change if we want to?

Mike Bartlett is one of this generation’s leading writers for stage and screen. His work includes King Charles III (Almeida, West End and BBC) and the hit television series Doctor Foster. The Olivier Award-winning Cock premiered at the Royal Court and off-Broadway in 2009.

Luke Thallon, who plays John, was nominated for the Evening Standard’s Emerging Talent Award for his role in Mike Bartlett’s Albion at the Almeida Theatre. His other theatre work includes The Inheritance (Young Vic) and Misalliance (Orange Tree Theatre); he was the recipient of the National Theatre’s Michael Bryant Award 2017, and the Society of London Theatre’s Laurence Olivier Bursary Prize 2016.

Matthew Needham will recreate his leading role in the Almeida’s production of Summer and Smoke when it transfers to the West End later this year. His recent theatre work also includes The Twilight Zone and The Treatment (Almeida), and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Globe); he previously appeared at Chichester in Bingo and The Grapes of Wrath.   

Isabella Laughland’s theatre work includes Cordelia in Chichester’s 2013 production of King Lear; Pride and Prejudice (Sheffield); The Last of the Haussmans (National Theatre); and Wanderlust at the Royal Court, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard’s Outstanding Newcomer Award. She played Leanne in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Simon Chandler has previously appeared at Chichester in The Stepmother, For Services Rendered and Cavalcade. His extensive screen work includes The Theory of Everything, Mr Turner, The Iron Lady, The King’s Speech and The Crown.

This new production is directed by Kate Hewitt. Winner of the JMK Young Director Award and the inaugural RTST Director Award 2016, she was recently named as one of Variety’s ‘10 Brits to Watch in 2017’. Her credits include Peter Morgan’s Frost/Nixon at Sheffield and Caryl Churchill’s Far Away at the Young Vic.

Contains very strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. 


Prologue 17 Blue Teal.

Prologue tickets available now!

Cast & Creatives

Cast

  • Simon Chandler.

    Simon Chandler

    F
  • Isabella Laughland.

    Isabella Laughland

    W
  • Matthew Needham Bw.

    Matthew Needham

    M
  • Luke Thallon.

    Luke Thallon

    John

Creative Team

Kate Hewitt

Director

Georgia Lowe

Designer

Guy Hoare

Lighting Designer

Giles Thomas

Sound Designer

Charlotte Sutton

Casting Director

Gallery

Access performances

Access performances

The Additional Seating is a bank of theatre seats that transforms the auditorium into ‘the round’ allowing the play’s action to be seen from all sides. Seats in the usual Minerva layout can be purchased by clicking Standard Seating.

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Cast Q&A

Q&A with the cast of Cock

This September Mike Bartlett's play Cock opens at the Minerva Theatre directed by Kate Hewitt. The cast are currently busy in rehearsals but we caught up with them to find out a bit more about this very funny but frank and honest take on modern-day relationships, and just what it was that attracted them to the piece. 

Luke Thallon plays John

You play the only named character, John. Who is he?
John is the only named character in the play yes! And it’s important that his name has that everyman quality. By making names either common or absent, Mike focuses on something more interior. I think John is beautifully fascinating: honest, insecure, always sincere, occasionally childlike and incredibly delicate. He’s older than me in real life, but he feels so much younger. 

Why did you want to be involved in the production?
Kate Hewitt, Mike Bartlett and Daniel Evans. Mike’s writing seems to have direct access to your innards. It just gets in your bones, as an actor it carries you effortlessly and lets you play. 

There are just four of you in this play. What challenges come with performing in a small cast or do you prefer it?
I think the play demands a commitment and honesty that is quite scary to tap into eight times a week, it’s so precise in its exposure of our flaws, our insecurities, our inadequacies. It’s very moving, even to read. So I’m looking forward to the intimacy of a small team and working with courage!

What can Chichester audiences expect from Cock?
This play really is a modern day classic. It’s funny, heartbreaking, sweet and devastating all in one evening. I think the risk is assuming from its title that it’ll be a glib, provocative night at the theatre but it is just so much more than that. It’s a forensic study of people and love. With some funny bits.

If you had to sum up the piece in three words…? 
Well, to quote another Mike Bartlett play... Love, love, love.


Luke Thallon.

I think the risk is assuming from its title that it’ll be a glib, provocative night at the theatre but it is just so much more than that


Matthew Needham plays M

How did you come to be involved in this production and what was it that attracted you to the piece?
When the audition came up, I read the play for the first time and I really enjoyed it. It's very funny and brutal and everyone in it is being put through the wringer in some way, but it was working with the director Kate Hewitt that was the real draw.

Can you tell us a bit about the character you play and his role in the production?
He's called M (so I'm playing him like Judi Dench in the Bond films!). As for his role in the play he is the boyfriend of John and is one of the two people that John is being forced to choose between.

Mike Bartlett once said in an interview that he was “amazed at the investment people had in the play watching it.” What is it about this show that really connects with people?
Everyone is going to get something different from it. I try to avoid saying plays are about anything because I think it limits them somehow and, especially with Bartlett's work, they cover such a wide spectrum of all the really confusing, awkward, difficult and ugly stuff that we tend to pretend doesn't exist in our quest for "normalcy" that it would be a shame to put it in a box and go this is a *insert issue here* play.

If you had to sum up the piece in three words…? 
Can I have 8? Freud would have a field day with this.

Matthew Needham Bw.

It's very funny and brutal and everyone in it is being put through the wringer in some way


Isabella Laughland plays W

How did you come to be involved in this production?
I met Kate Hewitt and Charlotte Sutton (Casting Director) and picked a couple of scenes to read. I actually saw the original production at the Royal Court. I loved how there was no set or props and it was just the actors on stage and the audience have to use their own imagination to place these characters in their surroundings. We meet these characters at a certain juncture in their lives, the whole play is just a snapshot of what is going on right at that moment for them.

Can you tell us a bit about your character and her role in the production?
I play W, she's a teaching assistant and one day she meets John and it goes from there. I can't really give you much more without giving it all away!

You've played very different roles throughout your career so far, what is it you look for in a part when choosing your next role? 
I've been very lucky in that they've all been different and they've been challenging in their own ways. For me, it always comes down to the script - if it's good writing and a part I've never played before - it's about what I can learn from it.

Your character W is the only female in the play and is seen as somewhat of an outsider to the male relationships. How do you think the gender politics of the play speak to younger audiences?
She's only an outsider because she's a woman, but there is a very real connection with John and their relationship is rooted in honesty. I think in terms of gender politics, as a society we're desperate to put labels on each other so we know where we fit and what we are. It comes from a place of fear and fear of the unknown. But it's interesting that within the last couple of years more and more conversations are being had and people are defining themselves how they want. 

Why should audiences book to see the show?
Because Mike Bartlett is a bloody good writer! I think everyone will connect with the play as it deals with loneliness, connection, wanting to be loved and what happens when you lose love.

If you had to sum up the piece in three words…?
Brutally, brutally honest. 

Isabella Laughland.

As a society we're desperate to put labels on each other so we know where we fit and what we are


Simon Chandler plays F

How did you come to be involved in this production and what was it that attracted you to the piece?
My role F feels like a good fit for me and the writing is so good that I couldn’t say no. 

Can you tell us a bit about your character and the role he has within the production?
My part F, stands for Father! His son M has asked his dad to come round and help sort out the relationship with his boyfriend. F thinks he knows best but is out of his comfort zone and rather blunders through the situation. 

The play is presented in the round, what challenges come with performing in that style?
In the round means no hiding place! You’re fully exposed and need to be in the moment at all times. You have a closeness to the audience that I like. You can be more natural than in a large theatre.  

Audiences will have fond memories of you at Chichester – having performed here most recently in The Stepmother (2017). Are you excited to be returning?
This will be my third season at Chichester in four years. Purely by chance and luck. I am looking forward to coming back and this is the best part I’ve had here so I’m very excited and nervous too! 

If you had to sum up the piece in three words…? 
Relationships are hard. 

Simon Chandler.

In the round means no hiding place! You’re fully exposed and need to be in the moment at all times

Cock opens 28 September and runs until 27 October.

10 Things you may not know

10 things you may not know

Mike Bartlett's funny and frank play Cock opens 28 September and if you've still not booked your tickets yet, here's some more information to help you decide...

1. Mike Bartlett is the writer behind the hugely popular television series Doctor Foster, his major new TV series Press begins on BBC One on 6 September.

2. Bartlett also wrote the Olivier award-winning play King Charles III which came to Chichester in 2015.

3. Mike Bartlett has often been asked about the title for this piece. He's explained that he wrote the play when he was on an exchange in Mexico, a place where they still hold cockfights. It's also a reference to the main character, John. Mike said that around three scenes into the writing process, the character was driving him mad!

4. The play first opened at the Royal Court in 2009 and sold out before the first show.

5. Directing the production is Kate Hewitt. Kate is a winner of the prestigious JMK Young Director Award, and the inaugural RTST Director Award 2016. She was named as one of Variety magazine’s '10 Brits to Watch in 2017'.

6. The seating in the Minerva Theatre will be a bit different for this one, as the play is presented in the round, a decision made to enhance the feeling of a cockfight.

7. Playing the central character of John is Luke Thallon. Luke is the winner of the Michael Bryant Award, 2017 and the Laurence Olivier Bursary Prize, 2016 and most recently he appeared in The Young Vic production of The Inheritance. Speaking of the show Luke said, 'I think the risk is assuming from its title that it’ll be a glib, provocative night at the theatre but it is just so much more than that. It’s a forensic study of people and love. With some funny bits.'

8. Isabella Laughland may seem familiar to you, she played Cordelia in the 2013 production of King Lear at Chichester and has also appeared in the massive film franchise Harry Potter. She'll also be in the new British horror comedy Slaughterhouse Rulez alongside Simon Pegg and Michael Sheen, out this October.

9. Simon Chandler (The Stepmother, 2017) makes a welcome return to Chichester, playing the part of F, in what he says is, 'the best part I’ve had here so I’m very excited and nervous too!'

10. Matthew Needham will be playing John's boyfriend, M. Matthew has performed numerous times with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and earlier this year starred in the critically acclaimed Almeida production of Tennessee Williams's Summer and Smoke.


Tickets
Age Guidance 
Age 16+
Running Time
To be confirmed. Please note that this production will play without an interval.