Since its opening, I've maintained that the Bijou Theatre is one of the best locations to watch live theatre. Its intimate setting puts you right on top of the actors, which allows you to take in everything these casts are giving you right down to the minute detail. It also doesn't hurt that they serve food and drink as well.
The use of this intimate space is one of the fantastic elements with their production of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ which sets a new bar for this theatre.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" revolves around a "charming rogue who contrives to serve a short sentence in an airy mental institution rather in a prison. This, he learns, was a mistake. He clashes with the head nurse, a fierce artinet. Quickly, he takes over the yard and accomplishes what the medical profession has been unable to do for twelve years; he makes a presumed deaf and dumb Indian talk. He leads others out of introversion, stages a revolt so that they can see the world series on television, and arranges a rollicking midnight party with liquor and chippies
Director Tanya Feduik Smith masterfully paces the piece, never moving it too fast and it never feels like its dragging. It's an immersive show. The cast here is simply marvelous. Geoffrey Gilbert gives a magnificent performance of the iconic McMurphy, thankfully giving his own spin on the character. Playing his perfect adversary Nurse Ratched is Avery Eady, someone who the entire community would benefit from if we continue to see her on stage. She is an imposing presence and watching her and Gilbert go at it is a joy to watch. Also giving an excellent performance is Paul Brown as Chief Bromden.
It's very hard not the root for the rest of these characters as well. I was pleasantly surprised to see the depth and commitment from John R Smith Jr, Jhulenty Delossantos and Christopher Cooney as Harding, Bibbit and Scanlon respectively.
This extraordinary cast also includes, Daniel J Mulvihill, Tom Torpey, William Cody, Nick Kaye, Ainsley Andrade, Bryn Berg, Nicole Yates, Brian J. Alvarado and Betzabeth Castro.
While I thought I was attending the closing performance, I was happy to hear that the show has been extended due to popular demand thru this weekend. I could not recommend seeing this more.
The show runs thru Feb 14th. For more info visit the website, thebijoutheatre.com, or call the Box Office at (203) 332-3228.