Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Psychotic horrors

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST: Opus Performing Arts Community

Noarlunga College Theatre, Adjacent to Colonnades Shopping

Centre, Noarlunga Centre

To October 16

"YOU don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps!"

Take one softly spoken, power crazed, psychotic nurse and a pair of moronic, sadistic aides and let them lord it over a bag of assorted nuts and everything works out just fine.

That is, until they let the aggressively male, exuberant (but relatively sane) R.P. McMurphy, into the mad house, then all hell breaks loose.

Adam Morgan's masterful portrayal of the larger than life McMurphy anchors a mostly excellent cast as they breathe life into Ken Kesey's story of tragedy, joy and hope.

Harry Dewar is quietly powerful as the mild mannered Dale Harding and Jarrod Chave is outstanding as the stuttering Billy Bibbit, McMurphy's ultimate Judas.

Dael McCarthy's deadly still portrayal of Nurse Ratched is more suited to film than theatre but she still manages to convey the sinister nature of her character.

She just needs to step it up a notch for a live audience.

Paul Kaesler is more noticeably nasty as Aide Warren with Nathan Lambert working well as his accomplice.

Peter Dewar tackles the difficult role of Chief Bromden. He has the necessary stature and sensitivity but needs to cut loose in the final stages.

This predominantly sad story of the fate of the true individual in a corrupt society is peppered with some very funny moments and great messages of hope.

Director Leeza Peters has produced a nicely balanced entertainment.

The set design by Alie Beck is interesting, lighting is good and there is atmospheric use of video and live music.

The atmospheric elements could be extended as they tend to switch on and off a little abruptly.

More could be done with scene changes to enhance (rather than break) the mood and there are some slow spots that could be cut to tighten things up and create more tension.

But overall, this is a very good production of a classic play.


? Review published in the Southern Times Messenger, 13-10-04, p. 37.

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