It might be movie blasphemy but, to the apparent disgust of all those who know me, I have never seen the film The Shawshank Redemption.

It has not be a conscientious effort to avoid what IMDB ranks as the number one film in the world – I have just simply never  got round to seeing it.

I am clearly something of a maverick.

So sue me.

But what I have seen is David Esbjornson’s stage adaptation at Richmond Theatre and that, I thought, was a fantastic piece of theatre.

Gritty, rough-around-the-edges and captivating are all clichés I would like to avoid to describe it but it really is all of those things and then some.

Former Emmerdale star Ian Kelsey plays a convincing lead in Andy Dufrense and keeps the audience interested throughout.

The shining light, however, ends up being Patrick Robinson and Red, who narrates and plays a vital role for the duration, almost as if he is old friends with the audience.

Set in the Shawshank Maximum Security Prison, anyone who knows the movie will know there are some truly raw, uncomfortable moments but that, for me, is what makes it so real.

OK, I cannot compare it to the box office sensation but I know what I saw and it was fantastic theatre.

I am unsure if I can subscribe to the view it is one of the greatest plots of all time but it is definitely worth before the nationwide tour bus rolls out of Richmond.

Catch The Shawshank Redemption at Richmond Theatre before it ends this week. Visit for details.