Hollywood’s Christian Slater (pictured) will make his West End debut in Guy Masterson’s revival of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Following its August run at the Edinburgh Festival (See News, 7 Jul 2004), the production will transfer to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, where it’s scheduled to open on 7 September 2004 (previews from 3 September).

Cuckoo's Nest 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 Randle P McMurphy, a violent, larger-than-life gambler who’s faked psychosis to avoid the drudgery of a working prison.

Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel was adapted for the stage by Dale Wasserman. The play premiered in 1963 on Broadway, where Kirk Douglas starred as McMurphy. In 1975, it was made into a Hollywood film, directed by Milos Forman and starring Jack Nicholson. The film won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Nicholson and Best Actress for Louise Fletcher who played Nurse Ratched.

Though best known for his screen success, Slater, whose father was a Broadway veteran, has regularly returned to his theatrical roots, most recently in Macbeth and the Tony Award-winning Sideman, opposite Sopranos actress Edie Falco. 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 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.

The production also features five of the cast of comics from director Masterson’s Edinburgh Fringe 2003 production of Twelve Angry Men: Owen O'Neill, Ian Coppinger, Dave Johns, Gavin Robertson and Phil Nichol. The company is completed by Felix Dexter, Lucy Porter, Lizzie Roper, Katherine Jakeways, Stephen K Amos and Tim Ahern.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is designed by Katy Tuxford, with costumes by Dagmar Morrell. It’s produced by Masterson and 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).

Currently at the Gielgud, Trevor Nunn’s production of his wife Imogen Stubbs’ first play We Happy Few, starring Juliet Stevenson, finishes its run on 31 July 2004 (See News, 19 Jul 2004).

- by Terri Paddock

NOTE: Booking has not yet opened for the London season.