Comics go Cuckoo

Asylum drama heads for Fringe

Some of the top names from the stand-up circuit are to appear in a stage version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

As Chortle first reported in December, acclaimed director Guy Masterson is following up last year's festival hit 12 Angry Men with another ensemble piece.

And who better to play inmates of a lunatic asylum than comedians?

Ian Coppinger, Dave Johns, Owen O'Neill and Phil Nichol (pictured) all take the roles of patients, while Stephen K Amos and Lucy Porter are among the staff. Actress Frances Barber plays the formidable Nurse Rachett.

However the role of Randall P McMurphy, the rebel inmate Jack Nicholson made famous, has yet to be announced.

The play, co-produced by Perrier Award boss Nica Burns and also featuring character comics Katherine Jakeways and Lizzie Roper, will take place in the Assembly Rooms every day of the Firnge, except August 16.

And afterwards, it's heading for a West End run.

The production comes after talks with Hollywood lawyers to secure the rights to the stage play based on Ken Kelsey's classic novel.

Masterson says that casting comedians as mentally disturbed people wasn't such a leap of imagination.

"It's probably not far off the truth anyway" he said last year. "They certainly have a heightened sense of awareness and humour that will make them very keen actors on this one."

"Comedians make great actors, and they bring an audience into the theatre which traditionally doesn't go."

Published: 15 May 2004

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