The best bet for an entertaining evening of local theater this week is the Arlington Players' production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." No question about it, from beginning to end the production moves with confidence, keeping the audience in suspense.

The play is based on Ken Kesey's novel about a basically harmless ne'erdo-well named Randle McMurphy, played magnificently by Bill Hollingsworth, who has himself committed to a state institution to avoid a jail sentence.

McMurphy befriends the other patients and locks horns with the tyrannical head nurse, Miss Ratched, and in the process brings to light the horrors of state hospital care.As he injects life into the numbed patients, the audience is forced to rethink the fine line that society draws between sanity and insanity.

Hollingsworth isn't alone as a standout. In fact, the entire case is superb. On top of that, the production is enhanced by a slick set that uses eerie special effects and haunting lighting to successfully recreate a psychiatric ward.

The topic is not a pleasant one. Accordingly, this play should be viewed by mature audiences only.

All in all, it is a well-rounded production with no gaps that provides energetic and sensitive entertainment.

"One Flew Over The cuckoo's Nest," Feb. 24, 25, 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets $5. For more information, call 750-0888. Other Events:

* The Falls Church Players present "The Butler Did It," Feb. 25, 26, March 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8 p.m., George Mason High School, Falls Church. For more information, call 532-9474.

* The Assembly Children's Theatre presents "Act on Broadway," Feb. 26 at 8 p.m., Robinson Secondary School, Fairfax. For more information, call 455-1692.