Jonathan Bailey is on a career roll. Fresh off of his role as Viscount Anthony Bridgerton in the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, the out actor will next appear on the West End stage in the new production of Cock.

Bailey most recently appeared as a guest judge in RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs. the World.

Advertisement
Bailey appears opposite Taron Egerton, in the revival of Mike Bartlett’s play, which will take to the stage at London’s Ambassador Theatre starting March 5. TimeOut is calling the revival “One of the must-see shows this year.”

Why Limit Ourselves With Labels?

Jonathan Bailey and Taron Egerton in ‘Cock’

Egerton, who is making his West End debut in Cock, is best known for his Golden Globe winning role as Elton John in the 2019 bio-pic Rocketman. The casting of Egerton, who identifies as heterosexual, in the play elicited some criticism from those who believe gay actors should be cast in gay roles.

Bailey, speaking with Digital Spy said, “I think it shouldn’t matter at all what character people play, but of course there is a narrative that’s very clear, that openly gay men aren’t playing straight in leading roles…So the fact that a lot of straight men have gone on to play iconic gay roles and to be lauded for that is fantastic, that that story is being told.”

Advertisement
“But wouldn’t it be brilliant to see gay men play their own experience?” asked Bailey. Cock asks the timely question, “In a world full of endless possibilities why must we still limit ourselves with labels?”

Gay Couple Take A ‘Break’…

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by JONATHAN BAILEY (@jbayleaf)

Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Egerton described the play as “The story of a young gay couple who have been together for a number of years. They end up taking a break – it’s very Ross and Rachel”.

“One of them sleeps with somebody else and it transpires that that person is a woman. And what happens is they all try to get together and have a chat about it.”

“It’s very, very funny and actually very moving,” Egerton said.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Taron Egerton (@taron.egerton)

Bartlett says that the play was inspired by his time living in Mexico City and the cockfights which still take place there. “I’m fascinated by all sporting events and how they can act as a metaphor for theatre,” said Bartlett, on the play’s official Instagram page. 

Advertisement
“The idea of a cockfight where it’s ritualised and people gather around a very little small stage and watched two creatures go at each other and peck at each other and tear each other to pieces. That felt like a great place to start the form of a play.”

Ahead Of Its Time

Taron Egerton, Jonathan Bailey and Jade Anouka in ‘Cock’.

Bailey says of the new production; “ It feels like we’ve got our war paint on. We’re reclaiming the theatre and hopefully going to do everyone proud.”

“People identify themselves differently than they did 12 years ago”, said Bailey of the timeliness of the new production, versus the original. “It was ahead of its time. People are nervous talking about sexual identity and this movement that’s happening at the moment, with opening the binary structure.”

Cock was first produced on the London stage in 2009 at the Royal Court Theatre, starring out actors Ben Whishaw and Andrew Scott. The play won the Olivier Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre,” in 2010.

The revival, which is scheduled to run 12 weeks, also stars Jade Anouka and Phil Daniel. Marianne Elliott, who has won three Tony Awards and three Olivier Awards for her work (War Horse, Angels in America and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) will direct. 

 

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.