Four of the stand-up comics who starred alongside Christian Slater in the original West End run of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 2004/5 will once again play the lunatics in the asylum when the production returns this month for a limited season from 21 March to 3 June 2006 at the Garrick Theatre (See News, 15 Feb 2006).

Reprising their roles are Brendan Dempsey as Chief Bromden, Ian Coppinger as Martini, Owen O'Neill as Dale Harding and Gavin Robertson as Scanlon. Others returning to the cast are Lizzie Roper and Katherine Jakeways who play Candy and Sandra, the women Slater’s Randle P McMurphy smuggles into the hospital.

Along with Alex Kingston, who will now play Nurse Ratched (See News, 17 Feb 2006), other newcomers to the cast are Paul Ready (Romance, Forty Winks) who replaces Mackenzie Crook as Billy Bibbit and Alex Giannini (Journey’s End, The Graduate) who takes over from Phil Nicol as Cheswick. The cast also features Rebecca Grant, Cornelius Macarthy, Felix Dexter and Simon Chandler.

Terry Johnson and Tamara Harvey’s revival of Dale Wasserman’s play - based on the 1962 novel by Ken Kesey, which was subsequently made into a film starring Jack Nicholson - originally opened in August 2004 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before transferring to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, where the run extended to 1 January 2005, and won two Whatsonstage.com Awards, Best Actor in a Play for Slater and Best Play Revival.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is produced by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer for Nimax Theatres and Ian Lenagan. Currently at the Garrick, Peter Hall’s revival of George Bernard Shaw’s You Never Can Tell, starring Diana Quick and Edward Fox, finishes its run on 11 March 2006. It opened on 7 November 2005 (previews from 25 October).

- by Terri Paddock