Western Reserve Playhouse Offers an Intense Examination of Timeless Drama ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

April Deming (center) with castmates from Western Reserve Payhouse’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”
WHO: Western Reserve Playhouse
WHAT: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Dale Wasserman, based on the book by Ken Kesey; directed by Brian Westerley
WHEN: Now through May 26
WHERE: Western Reserve Playhouse, 3326 Everett Rd., Bath, OH 44286
HOW: To reserve tickets, please visit the company website atwww.westernreserveplayhouse.org
It is fitting that Western Reserve Playhouse opened their latest production, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, during the weekend of Mother’s Day. You should definitely bring your mom to this show, but warn her ahead of time that she’s about to witness the mother of all psychological dramas.
In a way, this play is about a no-nonsense matriarch who nurtures and disciplines her children. It’s just that the matriarch is a no-nonsense nurse and her “children” are mental hospital patients.
Director Brian Westerley and actress April Deming carefully collaborated to make the character of Nurse Ratched less institutional and more maternal, softening her appearance as well as her initial reaction to newcomer McMurphy. This makes her later actions all the more chilling, giving Deming an impressive showcase in the role.
Written by Dale Wasserman and based on the book by Ken Kesey, this story of one man against the system takes on a timeless quality, especially considering Westerley’s modern touches. The director has also partnered with Portage Path Behavioral Health to provide clinical talkbacks on May 12th, 20th and 25th that coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month.
In addition to Deming, the rest of the Cuckoo cast delivers with their quirky, heartfelt portrayals. Ryan Rasnick shines in his stage debut as showoff McMurphy, and Ryan M. Dyke is equally compelling as vulnerable Billy Bibbit. They lead the talented troupe, which also features Joe Turner, Dennis Burby, Andrew Gordon, Marc Dusini, Craig A. Webb, Irv Korman, Abby Morris, Vince Sarowatz, Bradley Haramis, David Wagar, Mikhayla Wilkins and Annette Fernandez.
WRP’s creative staff, under the guidance of technical director Jim Gremba, turns the theatre into a hospitable hospital. Westerley teamed with Artie Fizz on the set design, TL Codella handles lighting duties, Hazen Tobar provides sound, and Kelsey Tomlinson supplies the costumes.
Review by Rich Stimac of inthelandofcleve blog

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