Two things linger from this Mitre Players production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
There is the assured confidence with which the cast reach for the strong characterisation required in this powerful stage adaptation of the Ken Kesey novel. Then there is the smell of tobacco smoke on your clothes from the persistent smoking on stage.
It is a challenge to meet expectations when the 1975 film version of the play secured five of the major Oscars that year.
Such was the strength of the performances that this production would easily grace the professional stage.
Tamsin Reeve is genuinely steely in her role as the controlling Nurse Ratched. Paul Bowles in the role Jack Nicholson played, of McMurphy, brings great energy and well-studied mania into the quickly emerging leadership of the patients.
All the speaking parts in the show are very well drawn and defined without exception. Even the non-speaking parts are well played. Almost all the American accents are flawless. The mannerisms of the mad, though perhaps outdated now in terms of representing those with mental ill-health, are a feat of acting and physical performance.
The set uses the depth of the stage well to present claustrophobia of confinement, the soullessness of corridors and institutionalised colours.
The side lighting of the set and separately the brooding above lighting of Chief Bromden are expertly done.
The show is powerfully presented to allow for much post-performance thought about power, control, hopelessness, male weaknesses, mental ill-health and morbidity.
This is a production worth more than the less than full Trinity School Mitre Theatre. The show runs through till Saturday, though I am told that while tickets are available on the door tonight and tomorrow, prompt online booking is advised for Saturday’s finale performance.
Bearing in mind the copious consumption of cigarettes on stage, the instructions in the programme about smoking being prohibited throughout the school seem a bit superfluous.
- To book tickets for the performances, click here
- For more about the Mitre Players, visit their website here
Coming to Croydon
- Norwood Society Talk: Crystal Palace, Apr 17
- David Lean Cinema: Inside Llewyn Davis, Apr 17
- Opening of Marlpit Lane bowling and putting greens, Apr 17
- Arts and Crafts Market, Exchange Square, Apr 19
- Private Peaceful, Charles Cryer Theatre, Apr 23-26
- David Lean Cinema: Short Term, Apr 24
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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