Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – The Lost Theatre, Wandsworth

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 
 The Lost Theatre

‘Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn,
Apple seed and apple thorn;
Wire, briar, limber lock,
Three geese in a flock.
One flew east,
And one flew west,
And ...’
…One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Written 50 years ago by Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has been turned into a play and a successful film.  Dale Wasserman adapted the play version and this is what Director Paul Taylor-Mills, in association with Amy Anzel (Producer), uses to bring the story to the Lost Theatre for its Anniversary.

The play is about a group of patients in an asylum who are living out their lives under the ‘care’ of Nurse Ratched and her staff. When Randle McMurphy, the new inmate feigning mental illness to escape a prison sentence, arrives their way of life is challenged and changed forever. 

McMurphy is a confident man who seems to get anything he wants but when he is challenged by Nurse Ratched, his vulnerability shines through. Sean Buchanan who plays McMurphy depicts this extremely well and the audience are able to build a strong bond with the character.

Nurse Ratched, brilliantly portrayed by Annabel Capper, is someone the audience quickly grows to dislike. She takes on a dictatorial stance and it is hard not to notice the parallels drawn on by her running of the Asylum and the way in which some authorities control people in society.

Sean Buchanan & Annabel Capper 
Photographer: Daniel Joseph Serra
Dwayne Washington is the one who steals the show for me. He is cast as Chief Bromden, who helps narrate the play through monologue. His accent, style of movement and expressions are all impressively executed. His monologues are assisted by projections onto the nurses’ station, which are interesting to watch.

The rest of the cast portray their roles very convincingly, with Bradley Rhys Williams, Paul Cleveland, Richard Vorster and Lee Colley deserving a special mention for their portrayals of Dale Harding, Charles Cheswick, Frank Scanlon and Billy Bibbit respectively.

The stage is well set out and there is a good view from most seats in the theatre so you do not need to worry that the seats are unallocated. The cast encourage the pace of the performance by using the space to its greatest advantage. They pop out of everywhere keeping the audience on their toes.  
Along with the rest of the audience I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It took us on a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from happiness to sadness, laughter to confusion, grief to relief to shock. It does have some risqué moments so I would not recommend it for a younger audience.
The Lost Theatre states it is unsuitable for people under 16. 

Review by Unsa Chaudri

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Lost Theatre
208 Wandsworth Road London SW8 2JU
Box Office: 0844 847 1680

Wednesday 14 March - Saturday 31 March at 7.30pm 
no Monday performances Tickets: £15.00 (£12.00 concs)