Director Withdraws from Slater-Led Cuckoo’s NestDate: 23 July 2004
As tipped exclusively on Whatsonstage.com yesterday (See The Goss, 22 Jul 2004), director Guy Masterson has dramatically quit the upcoming revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, starring Hollywood’s Christian Slater, which is currently in rehearsal for dates at the Edinburgh Festival ahead of a West End transfer in September.
Masterson’s withdrawal was officially confirmed this morning. A show spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com that there are two main names in the running as a replacement and a new director will be appointed by Monday to complete rehearsals for the high-profile production. Masterson, who is also credited as a co-producer with Nica Burns for Theatreshare, will “continue in some capacity”, even if only remaining “emotionally involved”, she said.
In a statement, Masterson himself explained: “For reasons of a personal nature and the stress induced by such, coupled with the highly complex and demanding nature of this production, I have had to withdraw as director. I am extremely proud of putting this superb company together. I have total belief that this production will be beautifully realised with a fantastic, ground-breaking performance from Christian Slater as RP McMurphy, for whom this part might well have been written. I wish all my lads well on the rest of this odyssey.”
Nica Burns added: “Guy Masterson has sadly decided to withdraw from this production. He is a unique powerhouse who will no doubt continue to be an innovative contributor to the theatre for years to come. The production is in good shape and we continue in rehearsals. We wish Guy well and I look forward to buying him a drink at the bar.”
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has a limited run, from 6 to 30 August 2004, at the Edinburgh Fringe before transferring to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre on 7 September, following previews from 3 September (See News, 21 Jul 2004). Dale Wasserman’s play, adapted from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, is set in a mental institution where a showdown between Nurse Ratched and rebel newcomer Randle P McMurphy divides the other patients.
Slater is joined in the Cuckoo's Nest cast by Frances Barber (Tales from the Vienna Woods, Closer, Closer to Heaven, Insignificance) as Nurse Ratched, Mackenzie Crook (The Pirates of the Caribbean, TV's The Office) as Billy Bibbitt (Barber and Crook pictured with Slater) and Adrian Hood as Chief Bromden, as well as five of the cast of comics from Masterson’s Edinburgh Fringe 2003 production of Twelve Angry Men - Owen O'Neill, Ian Coppinger, Dave Johns, Gavin Robertson and Phil Nichol.
- by Terri Paddock