The Entertainer at Garrick Theatre tickets
The Entertainer at Garrick Theatre tickets

The Entertainer has closed

This show has closed

Unless you are sitting centrally between rows D and J in the stalls it is better to go for seats in the front of the dress circle, as the stalls contain a number of pillars that play havoc with sightlines.

Kenneth Branagh ended his much celebrated season at London’s Garrick Theatre by starring in a production of John Osborne’s, The Entertainer.

Osborne’s explosive play is set in post-World War Two Britain amid the seedy glamour of surviving musical-halls. Branagh played the somewhat self-obsessed Archie, a middle aged performer whose own father, the retired Billy, saw much more success on the stage than he. John Hurt, who was originally intended to play Archie's father, Billy Rice, had unfortunately had to withdraw following the advice of his doctor. He was replaced by Gawn Grainger, whose recent work had included The Cherry Orchard, Macbeth and The Recruiting Officer.

The plot thickens as we learn that Archie has somewhat of a complicated family life. Not only are his second wife and daughter infuriated by Billy’s apparent lack of real emotion, one of his sons has been taken hostage during the War and is being held prisoner.

Apparently apathetic to his crumbling life, Archie’s only real moments of emotion are delivered amid song and dance numbers as he takes to the stage at the music-hall. Delivering scathing and sometimes profoundly political attacks on Britain amid his show numbers, it becomes clear that Archie is a deeply bitter man.

Rob Ashford directed Branagh as Archie, a role created by none other than Laurence Olivier himself. Alongside Ashford, further members of the creative team included Patrick Doyle as composer and Christopher Oram as set and costume designer.

The Entertainer began performances at the Garrick Theatre on 20th August and had its opening night on 30th August. The play ran until 12th November 2016.

Important information

Playing at: Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0HH

Performance dates: 08 Nov 2016 - 12 Nov 2016

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes (including an interval)

Age recommendation: May not be suitable for very young children

Special notice: The Entertainer is somewhat of a socio-political piece wrapped up in flecks of musical theatre. Fans of The Scottsboro Boys, or works by Brecht may very much enjoy this piece, as will fans of Kenneth Branagh who will be performing in the show.

Due to the subject matter and style of this piece, it is not suitable for children.

Reviews and photos Add photo

Branagh ends the season with perhaps an outmoded Osborne drama but gives it a life and a presence which is really engaging. More

sayers500 178cm, 87 reviews, 2 helpful votes

Kenneth Branagh is incredibly charismatic and carries this show easily. Without someone of his talent though, I can't say I would... More

Chen 5"7, 41 reviews, 2 helpful votes

This was my 3rd show of the Kenneth Branagh company season at the Garrick (after Winter's Tale and Romeo and Juliet) and as always,... More

natlecoq 160cm, 23 reviews, 0 helpful votes

This show was really not for me. I felt like it was very slow, the story didn't really come across, the lighting was quite dark. The... More

fifilou 5"7, 175 reviews, 6 helpful votes

Not a 'wow' show, but not as bad as the critics seemed to think. More

jenniepollock 4'11, 39 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Pleasantly surprised, although the story didn't escalate massively the detailed performances were captivating. More

alexandrahollingsworth 12 reviews, 0 helpful votes

The show is not the happiest of theatre and very meaningful. Well acted by all and made the show! A great set and use of pausing action... More

paulfootie 6'3", 96 reviews, 3 helpful votes

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theresaschick 179cm, 70 reviews, 1 helpful vote

The performances within the show and the production itself were of a very high standard, however personally I didn't really love the... More

laurenjfm 5'10, 51 reviews, 0 helpful votes