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The Entertainer Tickets

Kenneth Branagh ended his electrifying season of plays at the Garrick Theatre with a starring role in John Osborne’s The Entertainer. Branagh played Archie Rice, a struggling Music Hall performer who lives in his father, Billy’s, performing shadow.

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.

Sorry this show closed 12 November 2016, we recommend these similar productions.

Performance dates:
08 Nov 2016 - 12 Nov 2016
Running time:
2 hours and 30 minutes including an interval.
Garrick Theatre (See map)
Age recommendation:
May not be suitable for very young children
Audience Notes:
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.

Latest Audience Reviews

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

sayers500's avatar
sayers500 22 Jan 2018

Kenneth Branagh is incredibly charismatic and carries this show easily. Without someone of his t... More

Chen's avatar
Chen 14 Jun 2017

This was my 3rd show of the Kenneth Branagh company season at the Garrick (after Winter's Tale an... More

natlecoq's avatar
natlecoq 08 Jan 2017

This show was really not for me. I felt like it was very slow, the story didn't really come acros... More

fifilou's avatar
fifilou Top 200 reviewer 08 Apr 2017

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

jenniepollock's avatar
jenniepollock 08 Jun 2017

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

alexandrahollingsworth's avatar
alexandrahollingsworth 14 Mar 2017
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