Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring on the Ratched

Performance: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Roundhouse Theater, 4545 East-West Highway, Bethesda
Metro Stops:
Bathesda Directions here.
A cappella
Cost: Half price tickets from Goldstar ($25). $10 tickets for people under 30 (call the box office).
Through: April 26

Rating: 2.5/5 Starving Artists

Lady AWesome and I won free tickets to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Roundhouse Theater in Bethesda tonight. We entered in a ticket giveaway put on by the the local NPR station, WAMU. They do this once every week or two and apparently it is possible to win (who knew?). Take a look at their calendar page to see when the next one is and we can all enter and lower each other’s chances of winning. Anyway, we had been wanting to see this play, so it worked out really well. And the verdict: we were unimpressed.

I’m giving this show the lowest score I’ve ever given, and not because it was bad; just because it wasn’t good. Lady AWesome makes the point that it’s a fantastic script. They have a lot of good material to work with. But as far as we are concerned, they didn’t do much with it. The interaction between the inmates was entertaining, but their relationships to the authority figures in the asylum lacked the power that it needed. None of the leads were exceptional. Everything was sufficient, without being striking. The set was quite well done, but they compensated for this with a noticeably poor sound design.

I would be remiss if I did not mention one scene stealer. Jefferson Russell was so fantastic as the inmate, Scanlon. I was often so drawn in by his nervous ticks and sudden outbursts that I found myself focused on him, and not on the action. Ultimately though, the show lacked the interaction, intensity, and intimacy that I wanted it to have. It’s a great story, and if you’ve never seen the movie, YOU SHOULD, but I might skip the play. Here’s the entire movie, for those of you who have not yet seen it (I can’t believe I found the whole thing):

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