The acclaimed stage version of the nation’s favourite film tours to Oxford
27 Jan 2023
The hugely successful tour of the play The Shawshank Redemption, based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is set to entertain audiences at Oxford Playhouse from Monday 6 – Saturday 11 February 2023, starring Joe Absolom and Ben Onwukwe.
Adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns, this thrilling stage production examines desperation, injustice, friendship, and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum-security facility.
The 1994 feature film, starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was nominated for seven Academy Awards. The Shawshank Redemption went on to become the nation’s favourite movie and a huge source of inspiration to film makers, with The National Film Registry citing the film as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Despite protests of his innocence, Andy Dufresne is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover. Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he quickly learns that no one can survive alone. Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched…
This production sees Joe Absolom continue in the role of the wrongly convicted Andy Dufresne with Ben Onwukwe as his fellow inmate, Ellis “Red” Redding.
With an impressive TV career, Joe Absolom has barely been off our screens in twenty-five years: from Matthew Rose in EastEnders to Al Large in Doc Martin, Christopher Halliwell in A Confession and Andy Warren in The Bay. Joe Absolom said, “The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films, an incredibly moving tale of friendship and injustice, and I’m thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Andy Dufresne on stage.”
Boasting a 30-year stage career, Ben Onwukwe has seen leading roles with the RSC and the Royal Court, as well as 11 years on TV as Recall McKenzie in London’s Burning and, more recently, the role of Jackson Donckers in Professor T. He reprises his critically acclaimed performance as Ellis “Red” Redding in TheShawshank Redemption, which he first played in the production’s 2016 tour. BenOnwukwe said, “I’m delighted to be returning to the role of “Red” in this amazing production. The Shawshank Redemption film is one which many hold close to their hearts, and it’s exciting to be bringing Stephen King’s story to new audiences. It is a modern meditation on hope and in these times, it is hope that we need.”
The cast is completed by Mark Heenehan (Stammas), Kenneth Jay (Brooksie), Coulter Dittman (Tommy Williams), Joe Reisig (Bryan Hadley), Owen Oldroyd (Entwistle), Jay Marsh (Bogs Diamond), Jules Brown (Rico), Leigh Jones (Rooster), Kieran Garland (Dawkins), Samarge Hamilton (Kelly).