Life in a mental institution

Award-winning theatre company Tanglehead Productions bring their sell-out Brighton Fringe Festival production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to the Komedia, Brighton (January 19, 20, 21 and 22).

Company spokesman Matthew Geraghty said: “The play skilfully, and often comically, uncovers the dehumanising affects of society’s labelling and incarceration of individuals in mental institutions. Although an ensemble piece, the performance particularly focuses on the impact of Randle P McMurphy (Dodger Phillips) who, to escape prison, feigns madness and ends up in the Institute.

“McMurphy, a freewheeling gambling man with a zest for women, brings vigour, life and chaos into the sterile, conformist environment of the mental institution. In doing so, he starts to defy the implacable authority of the establishment, embodied by Nurse Ratched (Sarah Barfoot). It is a struggle that gradually restores to his fellow patients - but particularly ‘Chief’ Bromden (Gordon Winter) the ‘mute’ narrator of the drama - the dignity and voice they had long since given up.

Rikki Tarascas, the company director, added: “The work is funny, dramatic, tragic, but ultimately redemptive, and although written in the 1960s the piece has a resonance for a 21st century audience. As we increasingly find ourselves in a society that has both become progressively atomised and seen a significant rise in mental illness, it is a fabulous piece of theatre that shines with humanity - being at once a challenge to, and reflective of, the wonderfully absurd and magnificent world we inhabit”

Set up in 2010 by Laurie Cannon, Rikki Tarascas and Sarah Barfoot, Brighton-based Tanglehead in a bid to become “the South East’s premier theatre company through a combination of dynamic energy and experimental approach to live performance fusing music, theatre and film.”