Saturday, November 3rd, 2012
CONFRONTING, unsettling, thought-provoking and heart-wrenching, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest comes to Phoenix Theatre this November.

Adapted from the popular Ken Kesey novel for stage by Dale Wasserman in 1963, it explores institutionalised mental health patients, invasive medical procedures and the delicate nature of the human psyche.

Most famously, it was made into a multiple Academy Award-winning film with Jack Nicholson in 1975 – although the film was based on the novel, not the play.

Challenging authority and ridiculing conformity, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest follows a rebellious patient's life-or-death power struggle with a domineering head nurse.

Jane Sherwood has taken on the challenge of directing what’s been described as a “masterpiece of theatre”.

“Many years ago, the film had a great impact on me and, after reading the play, I thought the stage version was even better,” she said.

“It’s a touching story of friendship together with a confronting story of control.

“As director, my task is to ensure the characters become real people, not stereotypes.”

Sherwood has a wealth of experience behind her, both on and off the stage, in London, Melbourne and Perth, working with the Belvedere Intimate, Phoenix, Old Mill, Black Swan, Stirling, Rag and Bone and Kwinana Theatres, Arena Arts and Entertainment and A lad in sane productions (note to subs: lower case is correct).

In 2009, she directed The Last Waltz which was named best overall production at Dramafest, the annual state drama festival, and scored a similar award at the 2011 South West Drama Festival for The Leftovers.

Earlier this year, Sherwood staged the Australian premiere of the rock opera Virgin Warrior at Phoenix Theatre and delivered the world premiere of Who Killed Candy Sweetness? in October.

With the film and novel of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest being so well-known, she admits audiences will have high expectations.

“We are not going to try to do an impersonation but are following a fairly traditional approach,” Sherwood said.

“The big difference is the film is very well-known but the play is actually quite distinct to the film.”

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest plays at 8pm, November 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24 with a 2pm matinee on November 18.

Tickets are $20 adults, $18 concession – book on 0450 158 851 or at

Please note: the play contains coarse language and adult themes

Phoenix Theatre is located on the corner of Rockingham Road and Carrington Street, Hamilton Hill, within the Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall.

cuckoo1: Patients Scanlon (David Pragnell), Billy (Jack Walker), Chief (Adam Salathiel), Cheswick (Ryan McNally), Ruckley (Denys Lunn) and Harding (Christopher Doney) pass the time playing cards in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

cuckoo2: The medical staff in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Warren (James Hynson), Dr Spivey (Peter Neaves), Nurse Ratched (Nina Deasley) and Nurse Flynn (Maree Anderson).

cuckoo3: Shy patient Billy Bibbit (Jack Walker) scores a kiss from good-time girl Candy Starr (Judith Gerardin) in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

cuckoo4: RP McMurphy (Douglas Houston) Ruckley (Denys Lunn) and Billy (Jack Walker) feature in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

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Phoenix Theatre

For many people within the Cockburn area and beyond in Western Australia, Phoenix Theatre provides one of the few chances to experience live theatre. We also provide an opportunity for people to learn the acting craft, as well as other aspects of the theatre world.

Phoenix Theatre’s actors, directors, committee members and technical crew receive no payment for the many hours of work they put in and are driven simply by their passion for theatre – and sharing it with the community.

Our location at Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall could not be more fitting, given it has been a focal point for community activities since it was originally built in 1925. As home to concert parties, singing, dancing and socials, Phoenix Theatre is proud to continue the tradition of entertaining people across the City of Cockburn.
Jane Sherwood
P: 0421 974 286


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