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Curtains rise on 'Cock' presented by Theater LaB Houston

 (From the left) Steve Bullitt, Dain Geist, Haley Hussey & Bobby Haworth. Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston, used with permission
(From the left) Steve Bullitt, Dain Geist, Haley Hussey & Bobby Haworth. Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston, used with permission (From the left) Steve Bullitt, Dain Geist, Haley Hussey & Bobby Haworth. Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston, used with permission

Mike Bartlett's Olivier-Winning 'Cock' opened to a full house last night presented by Theater LaB Houston and Obsidian Art Space. The intimate setting and bare stage created the perfect theatrical elements for complete focus on the performance.

'Cock' tells a complicated story about a guy named John (Bobby Haworth) who is in love with a man yet suddenly finds himself attracted and maybe in love with a woman. Audiences slowly are introduced to each actor in the small four-member cast, which shows the strength of each performer as well as puts focus on the overall story.

Audiences first get a look into the highly dysfunctional relationship of John and M (Dain Geist), the boyfriend. After these "scenes" have played out, audiences then are taken through John and W (Haley Hussey), the girlfriend's relationship. Ultimately, this back and forth, or "cock fight", that John creates between his loves culminates in a final showdown and decision, which includes an appearance by F (Steve Bullitt) the father of M.

Both of John's love interest, male and female, only get initials because even in the telling they seem to matter little. The story is perfectly timed and transitioned as we watch a start and seeming end of a relationship or relationships simply with a sound and actors changing position. The fast-paced nature of the performance allows for fluid movement and lines that deliver sharp wit and humor in the midst of the serious content.

No one cast member stole this show. All three main actors Haworth, Geist and Hussey draw your attention at just the right moment and for just the right reason. This play seems more a statement for the audience, to reflect upon their own life and society rather than to simply enjoy a complete, atypical play. John is each one of us that, may not struggle with our sexual identity, but who struggles with life and making a choice for what we want for our futures.

This play covers a variety of adult topics and at times makes the audience squirm in their chairs, but it has daring and commanding performances that make one sit up and take notice. Once the final lights go down and the play ends, the true impact takes hold and audiences can be sure that they will be discussing this play and its content for days if not weeks to come. A must see simply for the outstanding performances yet audiences will get much more than they come in expecting.

Catch 'Cock' on stage through May 11th. Performances for the show are held at Obsidian Art Space located at 3522 White Oak (one block east of Heights Blvd) Houston, TX 77007. For tickets, call 713-868-7516. For further information about the show and upcoming performances, visit the websites at www.theaterlabhouston.com.