Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh

Edinburgh 2013: The Shawshank Redemption- Omid Djalili stars as hardened murdered Red

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
3.00

 

This year’s main production in the Assembly Rooms brings comedian Omid Djalili back to the “legitimate” stage – he’s already played Fagin in Oliver! and an insane doctor in Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw — in the Morgan Freeman role of Red, the hardened murderer and Mr Fixit in the Maine County gaol, Shawshanks; Red befriends the innocent banker, Andy Dufresne – Tim Robbins on screen – who is convicted of killing his wife and her lover.

Frank Darabont’s 1994 film, based on a Stephen King novella, is an evergreen on the all-time favourite movie list, so this stage version by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns – first seen a few years ago in Dublin and the West End – inevitably presses too many buttons for it to be a “stand alone” theatre experience.

While Djalili and Kyle Seccr as the lanky Andy make a fascinatingly odd couple, they don’t impart the sense of transcendental uplift in the movie, or its deeply spiritual statement of friendship and survival in adversity.

And although Seccr, who must be seven feet tall, is an astonishing near dead ringer for Robbins, and imparts a similar intellectual fierceness and amiability, Djalili reduces Red to a puff-and-shrug street corner dealer, the sort of guy who can certainly fix the inmates’ illicit luxury items, and Andy’s wall poster of Rita Hayworth, if not grow into a convincing, transforming colleague and confessor. Djalili seizes on any opportunity for sly humour but doesn’t fill out the bigger picture.

That’s partly because, unlike Lenny Henry, he hasn’t developed the technical equipment you need for big stage roles. But Lucy Pitman-Wallace’s production is efficient and well-drilled (though the prison is distinctly under-populated with just ten actors on the stage; there were twenty in the West End), and she allows Djalili his space for crafty manoeuvres.

Gary McCann’s design makes good use of five mobile prison towers and Kevin Treacy’s lighting is ingeniously atmospheric for so harsh and difficult a venue. The brutality and nastiness of the prison is left to Vincenzo Nicoli and Terry Alderton as “the sisters” and Owen O’Neill himself as the warden who involves Andy in his money-laundering activities, ironically making a criminal of him only after he’s been imprisoned.

There’s a touching cameo by Ian Lavender as the old librarian who can’t face parole, and a brief scene when Verdi’s “Dies Irae” shakes us into the requisite horrors of the hell-hole.

To 25 Aug (0844 693 3008)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones