Insane in the Brain

By Jeremy Miles

Were prankster in chief and psychedelic voyager Ken Kesey still with us I feel sure he’d be seriously impressed with this street-dance version of his multi-award winning tale of madness and control, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Kesey’s story, inspired by a US Government sanctioned acid trip, is set in a mental institution where the staff are arguably more dangerously unhinged than the patients.

A metaphor for life, it is also perfect material for high-energy Scandanavian dance troupe Bounce.   Set to music that ranges from Missy Elliot to the Kronos Quartet via Lionel Richie and Grieg, it focuses on free-spirited prisoner Patrick McMurphy taking on the health system and losing when he clashes with control-freak nurse Mildred Ratched.

In the struggle of wills that ensues, the power-crazed Ratched coshes him with chemicals, zaps his brain with electric shocks and finally has him lobotomised.

Watching and waiting is fellow patient Chief Bromden, a man whose desperate escape only takes place after he has proved that there can be a worse fate than death.

The story - based on Dale Wasserman’s 1963 stage version of Kesey’s novel - unfolds fluidly with hugely impressive choreography, a marvelously creative set  and powerfully physical performances from this powerhouse of a dance company.

The result is a production that communicates with wit and style.

© Jeremy Miles 2022