Although everyone thinks of it as a film, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ began life as a novel by Ken Kesey in 1962, being adapted as a stage play by Dale Wasserman the following year.

Director Peter Doran decided to revisit the play after originally directing it in 2002 for the Silver Jubilee celebrations and this time for the Torch Theatre’s 40th birthday celebrations.

As it has a big cast, the costs make it expensive to stage, but Peter felt it would be nice to revisit one of the award winning success of the past.

The set as always was amazing, designed by Sean Crowley.

The attention to detail was so intricate that after only a few minutes you felt as if you were actually part of the ‘group therapy sessions’ or ‘on the ward’ itself. The lighting and special effects deserve a special mention.

The play starts with the giant half-Indian Chief taking centre stage played by Andy Cresswell, an imposing figure who is bullied and chastised by Aide Warren (Connor Allen) and Aide Williams (Oraine Johnson).

He is apparently a deaf mute but his inner demons are revealed in a series of hallucinatory voice-overs throughout the play.

The play evolves when the staff arrive to give out medication to keep everything on an even keel.

You quickly get a sense of each of the characters and what their own issues are and why they are enclosed in the institutional madness, where the mentally insane are drugged, electrocuted and lobotomised in order to enforce a chilling notion of sanity.

The ‘inmates’ are painfully but comically aware of their own limitations and include Cheswick played by Dion Davies, Scanlon played expertly by Peter Doran, Harding by Liam Tobin, Martini by Rhodri Sion, Ruckly by Dave Ainsworth and Billy Bibbit so cleverly and touchingly played by Will Taylor.

Then Randle P McMurphy played by Richard Nichols (the character in the film played by Jack Nicholson) a con-man, thief and rapist, who has feigned mental illness in order to escape the rigours of the prison farm enters the asylum. He is soon flouting every rule in the book, organising gambling schools, basketball matches and even a party in the ward, much to the disgust of Nurse Ratched, who is played expertly by Jenny Livesey.

While trying to carry out her job she soon becomes the target of the new gang formed by McMurphy. Her frigid politeness a veneer for her steely determination.

What follows is hilarious, sad, disturbing but ultimately powerful theatre at its best.

I enjoyed every minute of the play and would thoroughly recommend it.

Standing ovations from the audience on the opening night of this production bore testimony to the power of this performance.

Tickets are still available throughout the month until October 28.

They can be purchased from the Box Office on 01646 695267 or online at

Tickets prices are £18.00 | £16.00 concessions | £15.50 TLC | £12.50 Matinees | £8.50 under 26s

There will be a Q&A session with cast members directly after the performance on Thurs 26 Oct

This production contains strong language and mild adult themes and is NOT suitable for children. Recommended for ages 14+ years.