An actress who says she regularly finds herself playing the villain has landed the role of a notoriously evil nurse in a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Annabel Capper, who hails from Braxted Park, Streatham Common, will play Nurse Mildred Ratched in the theatre adaptation of Ken Kesey’s famous book.

The 37-year-old LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) graduate has previously starred in popular soap Eastenders and BBC comedy Sensitive Skin with Joanna Lumley, but says she normally gets offered jobs as “shady” characters.

Speaking to the Streatham Guardian ahead of the play’s opening at the Lost Theatre, she said: “As soon as I knew they were casting for Nurse Ratched, I wanted to play her so much.

“I think on a superficial level people say she is an old cow, but I think what drives her is very interesting.”

The story follows the life of an American convict, Randle McMurphy, who is sentenced to endure the thrall of Nurse Ratched on a psychiatric ward, after faking insanity to avoid prison.

He constantly antagonises the stony-faced nurse and eventually they come to blows, prompting an uprising on the ward.

Ms Capper said: “Her way of dealing with patients becomes a bit skewed, but I wanted to play her in a way that people would understand her motives.

“I am hoping to surprise people by trying to understand her. I wanted to make her a very real woman.”

She added she felt able to relate to some of the play’s characters after seeing her brother suffer from mental illness.

She said: “I think the issues still have relevance. But hopefully the way we tackle those issues is much better.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest runs from March 14-31 at The Lost Theatre in Wandsworth.

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