By Dale Wasserman
From the Novel by Ken Kesey
Stage Direction by Lennie Dean
Based on the novel by Ken Kesey, and made famous by the 1975 movie, starring Jack Nicholson, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST is a story of a charming rogue named R.P. McMurphy who contrives to serve a short sentence in an airy mental institution rather than in prison. This, he learns, was a mistake as soon as he clashes with Nurse Ratched, a formidable opponent to his notions of nonconformity in her structured and controlling psych war. He quickly wins over his fellow "loonies" and accomplishes what the medical profession has been unable to do for twelve years; he makes a presumed deaf and dumb Indian talk, leads others out of introversion, stages a revolt so that the entire ward can watch the World Series on television, and arranges a rollicking midnight party with liquor and chippies. The strikes keep adding up, and the famous show down between nurse and patient is one of the riveting evenings of theatre.
"6th Street Playhouse has another success on its hands, this time an authentic revival of the Dale Wasserman/Ken Kesey classic “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” ably directed by Lennie Dean. Edward P. McCloud brings plenty of swagger to the role of iconoclastic troublemaker Randle P. McMurphy; his nemesis is the ice-cold manipulator Nurse Ratched, played by Critics Circle Best Actress winner Jill Zimmerman.
Dallas Munger and Alan Kaplan are standouts as psych-ward patients Harding and Scanlon, and Nick Christenson is an imposing and confident presence as Chief Bromden. A special treat is Stacey Kerr’s early-1960s slide show whose rapid-fire black-and-white images go a long way toward establishing an era that in terms of treating the mentally ill (or the merely uncooperative) was the equivalent of surgery when it was performed by barbers. Perhaps not much has changed—lobotomies are rarely done now, but only because we have drugs that are more effective than scalpels. Fifty years after its debut, “Cuckoo’s Nest” still provides plenty of food for thought."(Barry Willis- President, SF Bay Area Theater Critics Circle)
(Don Gibble - The Community Voice, Rohnert Park)