More Cuckoo's Cancelled While Slater in SickbedDate: 6 August 2004
The company of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - the high-profile revival starring Hollywood’s Christian Slater (pictured), which was originally scheduled to open today at the Edinburgh Festival ahead of a West End transfer – have good reason to believe their production is plagued.
No sooner had Terry Johnson taken over from original director Guy Masterson - who left citing personal reasons amidst rumours of backstage clashes (See News, 27 Jul 2004) - than its Slater, who plays the lead RP McMurphy, was forced to withdraw from rehearsals after contracting chicken pox (See News, 3 Aug 2004).
On Wednesday, producers announced that today’s first performance at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms was cancelled, but that the rest of the Scottish run, to 30 August, and the transfer to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre on 7 September (previews from 3 September) would go ahead as planned (See News, 21 Jul 2004).
This afternoon, however, a further three Assembly Room dates – Saturday 7, Sunday 8 and Monday 9 August – have been cancelled under doctor’s orders, as Slater has contracted a secondary infection. Producer Nica Burns said Slater’s health is now being monitored on a daily basis.
In a press statement, she explained: “Christian has been an absolute hero. He got up from his sick bed yesterday and worked for an hour and a half. However, by the end of the afternoon, he had developed a fever and was totally exhausted. This morning the doctor diagnosed a secondary infection, which in some adult cases can lead to pneumonia. Christian is therefore confined to bed and on penicillin. He was so keen to get back to work and to not let down the public that he returned to work too early and this relapse is the consequence. We are monitoring the situation daily. The company are all rooting for Christian and wishing him a speedy recovery so we can all get this fantastic show back on the road.”
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 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
NOTE: The Assembly Rooms has expressly requested that theatregoers not call the box office. Ticket holders will be contacted directly and offered refunds or exchanges.