The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Organization Stand Out Talent
Date(s) of show January 18 - February 2, 2013
Reviewer Dick Frantzreb
Review After their great success with an adult-oriented, PG-13 musical last January, “Next to Normal,” Stand Out Talent is presenting another outstanding effort with an adult-oriented, PG-13 drama in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” This 50-year-old adaptation of Ken Kesey’s 1962 book by the same title is not as well known as the 1975 movie with Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher. But if you’ve seen the movie and you think you’ve seen the best dramatization of this story – think again. Nothing matches the intensity that can be generated by live theater, and this production is certainly loaded with delicious dramatic intensity.

Each of the players has created – and maintains – a credible character, each off-balance in some way. Scott Divine drives most of the action as Randall P. McMurphy, and he delivers an over-the-top, high-energy, award-worthy performance that is fascinating to watch. Then there is the placid intimidation of Tressa Ohler as Nurse Ratched that is perfect in heightening the tension of each scene in which she appears. And the pervasive conflict makes each bit of humor that funnier.

The set is highlighted by an elevated nurse’s station that really contributes to the realism of the production, as do the sound and lighting effects. But it is the consistent quality of the acting that makes this show eminently worth seeing. The intimacy of the Tower Theatre brings one very close to the actors. On opening night, I carefully watched the actors’ faces and body language when they were away from the action, and I saw them living their parts. And it must be said that this production reflects not only the talents of the actors but the professionalism of director, Jason Bortz, who inspired and guided all this well-organized madness. Watching the performance, I found myself thinking the best praise one can offer a dramatic production: “This feels real.”

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