Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
The large cast, 16 actors and actresses, is very strong. James Oliver as Randle P. McMurphy creates the right edginess. It is possible to imagine that he had done something outside on the streets to land himself in a mental ward instead of jail, yet he is also a person loved by all the other patients as well as two or three female friends from the outside. Roxanne Fay plays Nurse Ratched with an element of softness. Yes, she is officious because she has to be, but she does care about the well being of her men and wants the best possible for them. Fay played a more sympathetic character earlier this year at freeFall in The Normal Heart. Michael Nichols as Chief Bromden brings the emotional gravitas the role requires, it's just that Will Sampson at 6'7" was so physically imposing in the movie that his performance remains implanted in my mind. Standouts in featured roles include Larry Alexander as Dale Harding (I am imagining a fine Elwood P. Dowd from him next year), Greyson Lewis (superbly funny a few years ago in The Foreigner) as Billy Bibbit, and Rick Stutzel as Ruckly (he doesn't have much to say, but he had great presence for the physical aspects). Other fine local actors fill the smaller supporting roles to great effect.
Director Eric Davis brings out the best from his actors and his technical collaborators. Listed is an assistant director and a fight choreographer, yet there is a strongly unified vision throughout the production. Excellent work from all the technical departments listed below make One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest an example of why freeFall is one of the most exciting companies in the Sarasota Bay Area. The production has already been so successful, it has been extended for two additional weeks. It is doubtful they could add even more performances because by the company will be well into rehearsals of their opening production of the 2014-15 season, Into the Woods.
freeFall Theatre Company presents One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest through September 14, 2014, at 6099 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. For ticket and performance information, visit www.freefalltheatre.com.
Cast (in alphabetical order):
Director: Eric Davis