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Last-minute drama at Sheffield's Crucible theatre as replacement found for injured TV actress

Lucy Black as Nurse Ratched and Joel Gillman as McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Lucy has now bowed out of the show
Lucy Black as Nurse Ratched and Joel Gillman as McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Lucy has now bowed out of the show
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The show goes on! Actress Jenny Livsey stepped in at the last minute at Sheffield's CrucibleTheatre when a star of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was injured.

The Durrells TV series regular Lucy Black was forced to pull out of the show, which had its opening night last night, when she suffered an injury on Sunday morning.

Lucy, who plays doctor’s wife Florence in popular ITV series The Durrells, was recently on stage at the Crucible in The York Realist, taking on the role of Barbara.

Director Javaad Alipoor and his team had to act fast to find Jenny to replace Lucy in the iconic role of Nurse Ratched in the play, based on Ken Kasey’s novel.

The role of the strict, authoritarian nurse was made famous in the 1975 film by Louise Fletcher, who won the best actress Oscar that year.

She starred alongside Jack Nicholson, who played small-time crook McMurphy, who causes mayhem in the ordered world of the secure mental hospital ward, challenging Nurse Ratched’s authority and encouraging other patients to do the same, with dramatic results.

The first chance to see Jenny in action was in a preview of the show on Monday, prior to Tuesday’s opening press night.

Star reader Louise Watt was at Monday’s show. She said: “Free drinks and partial refunds for audience – but most people were hugely sympathetic.

“Big applause at the end for her from the audience and cast. Must have been a huge challenge for her and for the whole cast.”

Jenny played Nurse Ratched for Welsh company Torch Theatre last year.

Reviewer Amanda Griffiths, writing for the Art Scene in Wales website, said last October: “Jenny Livsey deserves commendation for her role as Nurse Ratched.

“Her portrayal of the mental health nurse is chilling, at times her face seemed vacant, her tone automated.

“Ratched’s lack of emotion, respect or concern for her patients and their suffering, as she presses them about their issues and sends them for horrific medical procedures is barbaric.

“Livsey channels this persona perfectly.”

The show, also starring Joel Gillman as McMurphy, runs until June 23.