Page last updated at 11:32 GMT, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Theatre poster 'misled' audience by quoting film review

Kevin Anderson (left) as Andy and Reg E Cathey as Red in Shawshank Redemption
The production closes Sunday

A London theatre is being investigated after it allegedly promoted its production of the Shawshank Redemption by quoting comments about the hit film.

A Wyndhams Theatre poster said a critic called their show a "superbly gripping, genuinely uplifting prison drama".

But Daily Telegraph reviewer Charles Spencer said he had used those words to describe the film, which he suggested was superior to the theatre production.

Trading Standards officials are now investigating the claims.

'Blandly predictable'

A spokeswoman for Westminster Council's Trading Standards team said it would contact the London theatre and take further action if it was not satisfied with the explanation

She added it was not "acceptable" to mislead the public.

"Nobody has filed any complaints in this instance, but now we are aware of the issue we will be contacting the theatre concerned and ask for an explanation of the wording.

In this case, however, I would suggest that your cash might be better spent elsewhere
Charles Spencer

"If we are not satisfied with their response we will not hesitate to take further action."

A spokeswoman from the theatre declined to comment.

In September Mr Spencer said: "There is little doubt that this stage version of The Shawshank Redemption will be a big hit.

"In this case, however, I would suggest that your cash might be better spent elsewhere.

He added that the "stage version is inferior to the movie".

He added: "The blandly predictable design consists of little more than prison bars, and the tension and constantly simmering violence of the movie are in short supply."

Earlier this month, Mr Spencer remarked on the selective use of his review, writing in the Telegraph: "How odd that those words were omitted from the theatre's billboards."

Legal expert Neil Adleman said: "The law is clear that if a producer has not been diligent in ensuring that their advertising material is not misleading and if an average member of the public could be mislead then action should be taken."

The show is due to close on Sunday.

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