After numerous setbacks including a late directorial change and cancelled performances thanks to the star contracting chicken pox (see News, 6 Aug 2004) the opening night of the West End transfer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at the Gielgud Theatre has now been delayed. Although previously marked for 7 September 2004, it will now open nine days later on 16 September (following previews from the 3 September as originally planned).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest marks Hollywood actor Christian Slater’s (pictured) West End debut (see News, 21 July 2004) in the revival which was originally to be directed by Guy Masterton who was replaced by Terry Johnson at the eleventh hour (see News, 27 Jul 2004).

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.

- by Hannah Kennedy & Terri Paddock