by Dale Wasserman

The Lost Theatre 208 Wandsworth Road SW8 2JU To 31 March 2012.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm Sun 6pm.
Runs 2hr One interval.

TICKETS: 0844 847 1680.
Review: William Russell 17 March.

Well done, but possibly not worth doing.
Decently acted by the entire cast, well-directed by Paul Taylor-Mills, with a handsome set by David Shields, the problem with this production of Dale Wasserman’s play is that it is really rather pointless. It’s based on the novel by Ken Kesey (filmed in 1975 by Milos Forman) about what happens when an anarchic patient arrives in a psychiatric ward and upsets the pill-dominated routine, causing other patients to start to question their predicament and generally creating chaos.

Forman won an Oscar, as did the film’s stars, Jack Nicholson as the amoral, mischief-making psychiatric patient, Randle P. McMurphy and Louise Fletcher as the tyrannical Nurse Ratched. The truth is that the film, not the play, of Kesey’s novel is the thing. In other words why bother going to a theatre to see it, just get the DVD.

One sits there thinking this is being done well, but also wondering why have they bothered, what are they bringing to it that is new, that would make reviving a pretty run-of-the-mill play worthwhile? And in the end one has to conclude the answer is nothing.

Sean Buchanan, however, is very good as Randle, although he lacks Nicholson’s manic qualities – a bit more danger would help – and Annabel Capper makes an effectively horrible Ratched, who turns out to be his nemesis. But neither can escape the shadows of the movie’s stars. Nicholson and Fletcher defined the roles.

Nor are they, or indeed anyone in the cast, helped by the ghastly acoustic of The Lost Theatre, which muffles lines that really should ring out. But in the end this is a workmanlike production as well done as one has any right to expect, even if it never quite manages to build up to the horrific final scene which should leave the audience aghast.

Chief Bromden: Dwayne Washington.
Aide Warren: Damien Tracey.
Aide Williams: James Unsworth.
Nurse Ratched: Annabel Capper.
Nurse Flinn: Stephanie Feeney.
Dale Harding: Bradley Rhys Williams.
Billy Bibbit: Lee Colley.
Frank Scanlon: Richard Vorster.
Charles Cheswick: Paul Cleveland.
Antony Martini: James Murphy.
Ruckly: Bobby Bulloch.
Randle P. McMurphy: Sean Buchanan.
Dr Spivey: Francis Adams.
Aide Turkel: Thomas Barron.
Candy Starr/ Technician: Amy Bell/Anita Gollschewsky.
Sandra/Technician: Kelle Walters/Hannah Lederer

Director: Paul Taylor-Mills.
Designer: David Shields.
Lighting: Howard Hudson.
Projections: Tom Munday.

2012-03-19 03:26:34

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