Review: Cock, Cock... Who's There?, Brighton Fringe
4.0Overall Score

To say I was unprepared for Samira Elagoz’s Cock, Cock… Who’s There? is an understatement. Admittedly, I had gone thinking I was going to see an irreverent take on sexual dynamics in the modern dating world. Cock Cock is not that show. Elagoz presents us with a lecture-style exploration of her social experiments which document how men perceive and interact with her. She narrates video footage that she has compiled through various means – some interviews with her family and friends, some video diaries from her life, and some footage that she has received from male participants of her experiments. The show is advertised as “not your average show” with an 18+ label, but it should probably also come with a trigger warning for sexual assault and explicit content. Some of the footage she presents us with is shocking and decidedly unfunny, but all scarily real.

The opening of the show is a little jarring – a strange slide show story and psychedelic video that I don’t quite understand the purpose of. Elagoz comes out and initially seems quite detached from her subject, delivering her opening monologue in a somewhat cold and didactic manner. However as the show progresses, we see the emotion that is being suppressed by Elagoz as she opens up about her own experiences and shares her findings with the audience. By the end of the piece, we are not only horrified at what Elagoz has endured but also glad that she has been able to learn to cope in her own way and be hopeful for the future.  


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Elagoz’s show developed as a coping mechanism and way of processing her own experience of rape. Struggling to find intimacy with others in a way that made her feel safe, she sought to create controlled interactions where she could measure and analyse men’s responses to her. What she finds as a result of these interactions is not altogether an unfamiliar experience for any single woman, but I was completely shocked by the audacity of some of the participants who knew they were being filmed and yet still interacted with Elagoz in a way that can, at best, be described as creepy, and at worst predatory and manipulative. The audience are completely blindsided by some of the material Elagoz shares with us and it elicits a range of emotional responses, all of which challenge our perception of the world we live in. As Elagoz herself comes to realise, men do not need to protect themselves when interacting with women, whereas women must act shy and detached to ensure interactions don’t become violent.

By no means is this an easy message to hear and it does not make for a comfortable viewing experience. The emotional testimony of Elagoz’s mother and grandmother alone is enough to strike you right to the core, but Elagoz’s message is so powerful it cannot be ignored. A searing indictment, a cultural commentary, an opportunity to “stick it to the man” – call it what you will, this needs to be seen to be believed.  

Cock, Cock… Who’s There? played at The Old Market as part of Brighton Fringe until 15 May. For more information, visit the Brighton Fringe website.