(Ben Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 5/17.)
“Cockfight Play” is not the title of the terrific, tense little comedy by Mike Bartlett that opened on Thursday night at the Duke on 42nd Street. Its real name, which is only one syllable, is unprintable here, and “Cockfight Play” is being used in advertisements in family newspapers.
Yet there is occasionally truth in even the subterfuges of advertising. And as it happens, the publicized title is an accurate description for the experience of this feisty, hypnotic and oddly energizing exercise in emotional carnage, which has been directed (by James Macdonald) and acted (by a four-member ensemble) with a brute focus that suggests to-the-death battles of penned animals.