Paul Taylor: A cock-up at the Cock, but a first night not to miss

"Infinitely worth seeing" was The Independent's verdict on the unholy hilarity and aching beauty of Gene David Kirk's superlative production of A Cavalier for Milady. But now this world premiere of a late Tennessee Williams play has become the production it is absolutely impossible to see.

Not having the right licence certainly constitutes a cock-up at the Cock, a theatre which, under Adam Spreadbury-Maher's artistic directorship, has begun to remind me of the Gate during the regime of Stephen Daldry in the early 1990s. There are big differences, true – Daldry wasn't running two theatres simultaneously – but there's also a similar buzz and sense that the tiny space is in inverse proportion to the creative ambition. You are liable to see world premieres by older generation writers such as Edward Bond – or soon to come, I hear, Arnold Wesker – who have become exiles from the mainstream. To give current orthodoxy a kick up the arse while flying by the seat of your pants can be a thrilling stunt, but you have to remember to wear your braces.

There's the chance that both this play and the Cock's other splendid Williams' production I Never Get Dressed Till After Dark will be remounted at the Players' Theatre in the autumn. That would honour a great author who, metaphorically and to his credit, was always without the right licence.

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