One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Curve review

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, winner of five Oscars with Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher and Danny DeVito is a legendary classic. A real challenge for director Michael Buffong and actors Michael Beckley, Catherine Russell and Miltos Yerolemou to fill shoes of the 1975 film version. They have done a grand job and the Curve production, based on the Ken Kesey’s novel stands the test of time and is amusing, thought-stirring, but also shocking at times.

‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ is still relevant almost fifty years after it was written. It raises some interesting questions of personal freedom, crossing boundaries by abuse of power, temptation or need of domination and control. 

Watching this powerful stage production at Curve makes you think – who is more insane – Randle McMurphy, petty criminal, witty enough to pretend madness in order to escape prison, who clearly loves life and tries to inspire his comrades to enjoy it more or Nurse Ratched in her exaggeratedly starched uniform, ruling the ward with rigorous discipline, enjoying humiliating ‘group therapy’ and democratic voting to support or decline change of rules in the ward society.       

Randle McMurphy simply does not fit in the rigid frames of the hospital ruled by Nurse Ratched. With his lack of respect for medical authorities and willingness to live life to the full even in the enclosed ward environment – he needs to pay a price for the spurs of happiness and outburst of rebellious attitude. Watching Michael Beckley on stage – you can spot similarities with Jack Nicholson, however he adds fresh air to McMurphy’s character.    

Having watched the 1975 film first, you may have some preconceived ideas, but you will not be disappointed by seeing such a good performance at Curve. Quite on the contrary, you may discover some new hilarious moments in the tragic plot of the ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ story. It is worth giving it a go if you have a chance to visit Curve until 5 November. 

Joanna Gulbinska

Curve, Leicester 14 October – 5 November 2011

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at Curve


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