One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – A Review
I had the distinct privilege of being in the company of some very creative people. I’m friends with amazing authors, such as Veronica Giguere, David Robison, Cedric Johnson and Mercedes Lackey. I’m also well-acquainted with some outstanding graphic artists, like Starla Huchton, who is also a wonderful author (If you haven’t checked out the Endure saga, do it now!). Truly, it is humbling to be in the company of such creative folks.
Now I find out I know an actor. Granted, it’s local theater, but I’ve found that you can find gems anywhere, which is especially the case in the Peninsula Community Theater’s production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I was very much intrigued by the idea of this as a stage play. After all, we’ve all seen Jack Nicholson steal the show as Randle Patrick McMurphy in the theaters, and he owned that role. It was pretty much a role made for him, and no one could take it away.
However, Danon C. Middleton did a wonderful job as the conman/psychopath, his words moving with a frenetic pace along with his gestures. The entire time I watched, I was enthralled with Middleton’s interpretation of McMurphy. I could see that, while he wasn’t imitating Nicholson’s take on McMurphy, Middleton was enjoying the role as Nicholson likely did, losing himself in it to where you could actually feel the frustration of the character while trapped in the institution, and forgetting that this was only a play. Middleton was superb, and truly seemed to get the idea of who R.P. McMurphy actually was.
Playing the antagonist was Kimberlyn Williams, performing as Nurse Ratched. I loved to hate Nurse Ratched. She was evil, condescending, manipulative and vindictive, and it an was absolutely brilliant portrayal. When an actor can have you believing they are their character in less than two lines, that actor is doing it right. Miss Williams captured the essence of Nurse Ratched, and I was just blown away.
I have known Charles Smith personally for many years, and I didn’t know he was in theater. Apparently, he didn’t either, as he got talked into playing the role of Chief Bromden. When Charles told me he was going to be in a play, I was excited for him. When he told me the name of the play, I was intrigued. When I deduced he was going to play Chief Bromden, I knew it was a perfect match. Charles was incredible, channeling the anger, the confusion, the fear of the big quiet Indian. In the climax of the story, where Chief is releasing McMurphy, I could see the anguish on his face, hear his tears, and Charles just sold the scene perfectly.
The rest of the cast was incredible, with every character from Billy to the aides to Dale to Cheswick played to the hilt. Though I’m a big fan of the movie, and the story itself is absolutely wonderful, this rendition of the rise and fall of Randle Patrick McMurphy was something I would happily sit through again. This troupe is amazing, and should be commended on an outstanding performance.
Do yourself a favor, folks. If you like theater and are in the Southeastern Virginia are, go ahead and catch this show. You won’t be disappointed. It’s playing at the Peninsula Community Theater on Warwick Blvd in Newport News. I cannot express enough how amazing the show was. Go here to see showtimes and get tickets.
So what are you waiting for? Go!