• Jul 26,2023
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Review: Cuckoo – Equal parts harrowing and hilarious: Michael Wynne’s latest production opens at Royal Court Theatre.

Cuckoo is a bold exploration of mental wellbeing, familial dynamics and self-discovery. We follow Megyn, played by Emma Harrison in her professional debut, as she navigates coming of age in an increasingly digital and disconnected world. Themes of generational trauma, human connection and belonging run throughout. Above all, Cuckoo invites the audience to confront uncomfortable truths and challenges the stigmas associated with mental health.

The stage design is simple and understated, with the entire story contained in one space, the matriarchs living room. A dining table and 4 chairs sit in the centre, double doors open to show us a glimpse of patio garden and the gentle hum of a kettle boiling reverberates through the kitchen service hatch. The familiar design captures domestic life flawlessly.

Michael Wynne’s script perfectly captures casual familial conversation, often making the audience erupt with laughter or squirm with empathy. Wynne skillfully explores ideas of identity and the societal constructs that shape us, inviting the audience to confront their own preconceived notions and biases.

The themes of the story are mirrored further in Cuckoo’s sound and lighting design. At different points dramatic blackouts indicate the passing of time, rain pouring down mimics the somber mood and pop songs playing on the radio accompany characters with wide smiles. These visual elements work in harmony to create a world that is both captivating and unsettling.

Ultimately, Cuckoo challenges it’s audience to engage in a dialogue about what mental health means in our changing world. It is uncomfortable and unnerving, but leaves you with the hope that there is potential for healing. It is a testament to the power of theatre as a vehicle for social commentary and personal introspection.

Cuckoo ( in partnership with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse) is showing at Royal Court Theatre until 19th August 2023. Tickets and further information is available here.

Featured Image by Manuel Harlan

Review by Amy Melling

Amy is a Curator and Creative Producer whose practice is centred around community-led arts projects. Her current research is focused on curatorial methods for exhibiting artworks outside. Amy has a keen interest in the arts and recently completed an MA in Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.

Read Amy’s latest Review: The RHS Botanical Art & Photography Show 2023 ‘truly blossoms at Saatchi Gallery’ 16 June – 9 July – Abundant Art


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