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The Umbrella Organisation

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Lost Theatre
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rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly

Photo credit: http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest-lost-theatre/

Cut and pasted from the Lost Theatre Company website:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Play by Dale Wasserman, based on the novel by Ken Kesey

To mark the 50th Anniversary of Ken Kesey’s novel, Paul Taylor-Mills and Amy Anzel present this cult classic which remains one most poignant dramas of the 20th Century.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was written after Ken Kesey spent time working the graveyard shift as an orderly at a mental heath institute in California. The 1975 film version won five Academy awards including Best Picture and catapulted Jack Nicholson to Hollywood royalty.

After being sentenced to prison, Randle P. McMurphy tries to avoid hard labour by agreeing to a stint in a mental institution. However, his unwillingness to comply and his compassion for his fellow patients make him a prime target for the fearsome Nurse Ratched, which has life-changing consequences for all.

The production closes on 31 March.

Follow the link for all the details:
http://www.losttheatre.co.uk/whatson/whatson

Raks's Reaction

I saw this tonight (Tuesday 27 March). I will declare my own personal interest upfront. My ex-husband recommended this book to me, I read it and just fell in love with it. I thought it was just beautiful as for me it is about the tenacity of the human spirit, even when faced with a high immovable wall of authority, rules and regulations. I love the battle Randle P. McMurphy wages against the evil Nurse Ratched, and I am really rooting for him. He has his victories, some small, some significant, along the way even though ultimately the medical establishment and Nurse Ratched's authority prove too much for him. But the book has an uplifting ending as Chief Bromden escapes and finally wins his freedom.

I read the book first. Then I saw the film. And I know this is controversial, as the film won 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture, but in my humble opinion the film did not do justice to the book; it was a pale imitation. It concentrated on one strand of the story, Randle P. McMurphy, but that was at the expense of the other patients' stories; the book was very much an ensemble piece. In the novel, Chief Bromden narrates the story and we see the narrative through his eyes. It annoyed me that in the film he was sidelined. The novel talks a lot about the Chief and his story, but none of this is in the film; the film only focuses on Randle. When I saw the film I was hugely disappointed as I felt many of the little finishes and touches in the book were not in the film, and I just kept thinking of the incidents and the dialogue that were in the book and didn't make it into the film, and how much was lost in the film.

I booked to see this purely because it was One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. As I said, it is one of my favourite novels, and so I will turn out for any adaptation of it. For me, the production really captured the heart and the soul of the book and reflected that onto the stage. Sean Buchanan as Randle P. McMurphy was outstanding. Obviously the piece turns on this one character and the actor playing the part has to be right. Sean Buchanan was right! He looked and acted "tough", his stage presence was huge, and he commanded the stage and was a real presence in all the scenes that he was in, but he also had the right level of mischief; Randle is a wisecracking clever so-and-so. Sean Buchanan managed to hit the right note re being tough yet funny. He was also very charismatic and you could fully believe that here was a rebel and a born leader, someone who others would be willing to follow. Lee Colley as Billy Bibbit was also excellent and provided great support.


Sean Buchanan as Randle P. McMurphy
Photo credit: http://www.indielondon.co.uk/gallery/one-flew-over-the-cuckoo-s-nest-gallery?imagenum=4

All the key scenes were beautifully recreated by the ensemble cast - the group therapy scene, the watching the World Series scene, the basketball scene and the party scene. There was a much more developed relationship in this adaptation between Randle and the Chief than I have seen in any other adaptation. There were a few conversations between them (I can't remember if these scenes are in the book) but those few scenes helped us to understand the growing friendship between the two men and the deepening understanding of, and empathy for, eachother. It makes the final scene that much more believable and also more poignant.

The ECT scene is very powerful and shocking. It is horrific and barbaric. It still really upsets me to know that we continue to do this to people and call it "therapeutic treatment". Enough said.

The production was a faithful adaptation of the novel; true to the spirit of the novel; completely authentic.

Anyway, to sum up, I thought this was fringe theatre at its best. Outstanding! Highly highly highly recommended.

It was the first time I had been to the Lost Theatre. I loved it! It is a 5 minute walk from Stockwell tube station and is a small theatre with tiered seating so everyone can see the whole of the stage. I am going to return there just as soon as I can as I thought the venue was fab.

I know that most of you will not be able to see this production and so I am recommending instead that you read the book. You can buy it here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flew-Cuckoos-Penguin-Modern-Classics/dp/0141187883/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332891574&sr=1-1



Cut and pasted from Amazon:
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy's heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.
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I've never read the book or seen the film, but I have seen three versions of this at the theatre. Twice (different productions about a year apart at the Geilgud and Garrick respectively) with Christian Slater playing Randle P McMurphy both times and once at the Barbican with Gary Sinise playing him. All three were exceptionally good.

I saw the Christian Slater one too and, you are right, it was excellent (not sure where I saw it!). The Christian Slater play was way better than the film. Again, in that production too, the Chief was central to the action, and had quite a few soliloquies as I recall.

I've only ever watched the movie, but I'd love to read the book. The film was so touching and beautifully done that I can imagine how brilliant the book is. After hearing what you've said I wish I could see the play too :')

First off, catchingfear welcome to The Umbrella Organisation! Feel free to post whatever you want when you want - we are very free and easy here!

If you watched the movie and loved it, I am sure that you would love the book even more; because there is more depth to the book and the character studies in the book are much more detailed. As I said, the Chief in the book is a much deeper and richer figure, and is the narrator so we see everything through his eyes. If you can't afford to buy the book it is widely available in all libraries.

Well I'll definitely look for it then!
And thannk you very much, I'll do so (:

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