I saw my first performance of Richard the Third when I was a schoolboy.

I saved up my pocket money to go to the Everyman and was hooked.

My best investment ever.

Up to that point, I had only read Shakespeare from dusty books.

The drama brought it alive especially when Richard was portrayed as a 'skinhead' complete with 'bovver boots.'

Just as The Beatles were breaking the pop music rules, Liverpool's theatres were doing the same in dramas.

I realised then that the Bard's work is open to interpretation.

Whether it was Laurence Olivier, Peter Sellers or Anthony Sher (depicting the murderous monarch as a human spider) this royal character had so many levels to tap into.

The latest co-production from the Everyman, Playhouse and Rose Theatre in Kingston is again refreshingly different and daring.

Actress Adjoa Andoh not only stars in it but directs the three-hour play, too.

And that is an impressive dual achievement from the star who played Lady Danbury in the Netflix smash Bridgerton.

Bristol-born Adjoa is passionate about her work and it shows whether on global TV or being a judge on the Booker Prize Panel.

From the moment she arrives on stage you cannot take your eyes off her.

I was reminded of the great Hollywood star Peter Lorre - a man who was also a master of the classics and who had visual eye-rolling pulling power Adjoa injects so many nuances into her portrayal from the menace to the vulnerability.

Why did Adjoa take on such a demanding, physical role?

In the excellent programme notes she says: ''As a child, guided in my interest of history I fell upon the story of Richard and felt a kinship, through some of my own experience of being judged what I looked like rather than who I was and that kinship rang with the child's sense f 'it's not fair.'

Richard of Gloucester, of course, was an outsider you could say a 'spare.'

Here his voice is one of race and trauma.

Shakespeare certainly did Richard's image damage but he remains one of history's most enigmatic figures no matter how he is painted.

Here Adjoa promises and delivers singing, dancing and the odd joke.

She certainly lives up to this description with plenty of rage thrown in.

There are splendid performances too in the 14-strong cast.

Joseph Kloska is a striking Buckingham ironically hurt by the deception and Oliver Ryan captures the bewilderment of Clarence.

Set designer Amelia Jane Hamlin has a tree as its centrepiece - central and foreboding on a static, walled garden set.

There are splendid use of shadows throughout as the killing spree spreads.

A nice touch, too, with one of the Ill-fated princes in the tower here depicted in the guise of a puppet.

Granted, three hours is a long time to digest such rich dialogue and Shakespearean skullduggery.

Trimming it by 20 minutes would appeal to school parties who have a tradition of being restless.

That said, the pace is fine and the music is perfectly pitched in this royal saga inspired by the star's childhood in the Cotswolds.

It is a Richard III with a West Country accent and it stands out for its passion.

We see Richard in a different light. In fact, we will always see him in light and shade and long may that continue thanks to a new lens.

Verdict: Four stars

Adjoa is a tour-de-force

The production is on until April 22

Tickets from 0151 709 4776