As previously tipped, (See The Goss, 29 Jun 2004), Hollywood's Christian Slater (pictured) will star in Ken Kesey's harrowing drama about life in a mental hospital, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The new production marks Slater's UK stage debut and will have a limited three-week season, from 6 to 30 August 2004, at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms as part of this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, ahead of a planned West End transfer in September (venue still to be confirmed).

Slater will play RP McMurphy, the part immortalised on screen by Jack Nicholson in Milos Foreman's 1975 film. He’s joined in the cast by Frances Barber (Tales from the Vienna Woods, Closer, Closer to Heaven, Insignificance) as Nurse Ratched, Mackenzie Crook (from TV's The Office) as Billy Bibbitt and Adrian Hood as Chief Bromden.

The story tells of the inmates of a mental institution who live under the strong arm of Nurse Ratched and in fear of the brutal treatment dealt out in the 'Shock-Shop'. Into this world walks McMurphy, a violent, larger-than-life gambler who’s faked psychosis to avoid the drudgery of a working gaol. Kesey's novel is adapted for the stage by Dan Wasserman.

Directed by Guy Masterson, the play features five of the cast from his hit production of Twelve Angry Men, which played at last year’s Edinburgh Festival. They are Owen O'Neill, Ian Coppinger, Dave Johns, Gavin Robertson and Phil Nichol. The company also includes Felix Dexter, Lucy Porter, Lizzie Roper, Katherine Jakeways, Stephen K Amos and Tim Ahern.

Though best known for his screen successes, Slater has regularly returned to his theatrical roots (his father was a Broadway star), most recently in Macbeth and the Tony Award-winning Sideman opposite Sopranos actress Edie Falco on Broadway. Slater's films include The Name of the Rose, Heathers, True Romance, Untamed Heart, Broken Arrow, Pump Up The Volume, Bed of Roses, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Interview with the Vampire.

Slater is enthusiastic about his new project. In a press statement, he said: "I am thrilled to be making my West End and Edinburgh stage debut in this great American classic, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I can't wait to start working on this fantastic role with this amazing cast. It is great to be working again with Mackenzie Crook, with whom I have just made Churchill - The Hollywood Years."

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is designed by Katy Tuxford, with costumes by Dagmar Morrell. It’s by Nica Burns for Theatreshare, Max Weitzenhoffer and Ian Lenagan. Prior to the West End transfer, the production runs at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, from 6 to 30 August 2004, as part of the 58th annual Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival (See News, 10 Jun 2004).

- by Hannah Kennedy