One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1 star)

This article is from 2008.

Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel, which celebrates one man’s attempt to subvert subtle hegemonic control, is given a treatment here that few texts deserve. Across the clumsy set, which resembles the whitewashed innards of an inside-out cereal box, the floundering cast struggle with unimaginative lighting and clumsy direction. Adam Tomkins’ McMurphy evidences none of the heroic acting required for his constant face-off with Yvonne Waring’s powerful Nurse Ratched, who supplies the only chink of hope in an evening otherwise only marginally preferable to electric shock therapy.

Sweet ECA, 0870 241 0136, until 9 Aug, 7pm, £10.


1. Alan Bayley13 Aug 2008, 11:44am Report

I directed this show, and am grateful to The List and to Mr Laing for having covered it. Obviously my views are coloured by my close involvement with the production, but I felt I wanted to comment to provide a little balance.

I am bound to point out that this review seems oddly out of step with the 4 star rating granted by Three Weeks at the festival and also with every single public vote on (all of whom have rated the show as 4 or 5 stars so far).

Perhaps more importantly for our company (which aims to produce popular theatre), the review seems at odds with the fact that the run sold out almost entirely, and received standing ovations from substantial segments of the audience on the last three nights of the run.

Of course, a review is a matter of opinion, but on this occasion The List's opinion (which I always respect) seems to be in the minority. I would point out to audiences that Practical Magic is a theatre company which has now been reviewed at 4 or 5 stars by recognised periodicals for its last 5 major productions at the Fringe.

I would urge audiences to make their own minds up. I also appreciate The List's input and would be delighted to see them at future shows.

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