Theatre Reviews

Theatre review

Theatre review

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The Shawshank Redemption, Lyceum

How do you begin to review the theatre version of a story, when you are familiar with the film adaptation which is regarded by many as one of the best movies of all time? Paradoxically, the answer needs a simple question: does it work? Yes it does. This story of human emotions from hope to despair might not have the depth of the 1994 film, but the plight of prisoners trapped in a cruel and violent regime loses none of its engaging and absorbing power.

The play covers 19 years of incarceration for a man ridiculed for protesting his innocence, but with a steely determination not to surrender to his tormentors, both prisoners and warders, and a particularly monstrous governor.

Paul Nicholls has a seemingly diffident start but brings out the character of Andy Dufresne as the play progresses, and a genuine warmth develops with fellow inmate Red Redding, the fixer and confidante played with great skill and mischievous charm by Ben Onwukwe. Add in unscrupulous warden Stammas (Jack Ellis) and the scene is set for conflict.

The passage of time is helped with music from the two decades and Red’s narration fills in the inevitable story gaps.

* Alan Powell

English Chamber

Orchestra,

City Hall

This much acclaimed chamber orchestra certainly lived up to our expectations. The first half of the concert consisted of two great 18th century works. Haydn’s Symphony No 49, ‘La Passione’ was dramatic and powerful. Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat Major was beautifully expressive. The complex dialogue between the two outstanding soloists, Stephanie Gonley (violin) and Ofer Falk (viola) was exquisite. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, once voted the ‘saddest classical work ever,’ was played with dignity and restraint while Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings completed a lovely concert.

* Mavis Kirkham