One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
It doesn’t fly, and that’s something of a mystery. Certainly Gary Sinise makes us temporarily forget Jack Nicholson by playing Randle P. McMurphy as a roistering, beer-bellied, overgrown child; unquestionably the Steppenwolf regulars playing the other patients of that anonymous mental institution turn in fine, sympathetic performances. But Cuckoo’s Nest is so familiar by now — from Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, from Dale Wasserman’s Broadway adaptation (originally staged in 1963), from the Oscar-winning 1975 movie — that it cries out to be reinvented and made relevant anew. Except for some frightening moments that use lighting and sound design to take us inside the addled head of Chief Bromden (Tim Sampson), this revival treats the scenes like stations of the cross. Pardon the expression, but it’s not crazy enough.