Preview: Insane in the Brain, Sadler's Wells, London

Lindy hop has taken over the asylum
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The Independent Culture

Jack Nicholson played the psychiatric patient Randle P McMurphy in the 1975 film, and more recently Christian Slater reprised the role in the West End play. Now it is the turn of the Swedish dancer Fredrik Rydman to star in a new hip-hop version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

This street dance version by Bounce, re-titled Insane in the Brain, is also based on the novel by Ken Kesey, with a soundtrack that includes cuts from Dizzee Rascal and Missy Elliot. The break-dancing inmates of the psychiatric hospital use dance moves to rebel against the strict Nurse Ratched, who prefers ballet.

"When she gives the patients medicine, her way of treating them is to make them go to the ballet bar to keep them in line," says Rydman. "In ballet, as opposed to street dance, there is right or wrong. In street dancing you can do whatever you want. You can create your own style."

The dance company Bounce was formed in late 1997 in Stockholm by a group of Sweden's top street dancers, including Rydman himself, who are experts at breaking, locking, popping, boogaloo, lindy hop, tap and new-school dance moves. "We all knew one style and we tried to teach each other. We all choreograph the shows together."

The seven core dancers last appeared at Sadler's Wells in their 2002 show Bounce. "It was a variety show to display all the different hip-hop styles – this next show has more depth."

There is one scene at the beginning of Insane in the Brain to set up the story, because, says Rydman, "a lot of younger people don't know the story," but after that it is pure dance.

Rydman says: "When Nurse Ratched gives the inmates electric shock treatment, we dance up and down a high wall hanging on to bungee ropes. When Nurse Ratched and McMurphy fight for the power over the institution and inmates near the end of the story, we do another expressive break-dance number to tango music."

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