The Entertainer


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‘a performance that is never less than thoroughly arresting’



‘hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric production’



‘one of the most iconic roles in post-war theatre’

John Osborne’s modern classic The Entertainer will be the fifth and final production in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre. Directed by Rob Ashford, designed by Christopher Oram and starring Kenneth Branagh, the production will open in August 2016.

Set in post-war Britain within the faded glamour of music halls, The Entertainer follows the story of Archie Rice, in an examination of public façade and private torment. Considered to be a hugely important play of the twentieth century, Osborne’s tale is both dark comedy and kitchen-sink realism, depicting Archie’s drained domestic life. A middle-aged man with a daughter and second wife, Archie is a cold, bitter and tired vaudeville performer, whose downfall has reduced him to playing in a dilapidated seaside music hall. The Entertainer is considered as a social commentary, used to remark on the decline of the British Empire and the troubles in the Middle East, all of which remain relevant today.

Osborne originally wrote the part of Archie for Laurence Olivier, with The Entertainer first premiering at the Royal Court in 1957. Since then, the third-rate comedy performer has been played by a long list of theatrical greats, including Max Wall, Peter Bowles, Corin Redgrave and most recently Robert Lindsay in the 2007 Old Vic revival.

The Entertainer is sure to be the grand finale of Branagh’s season at the Garrick Theatre, and will play a limited season from August 20th 2016 to November 12th 2016.

Cast and Creative

The Entertainer is directed by Rob Ashford, with design by Christopher Oram.the-entertainer-satellite

Kenneth Branagh plays the iconic role of Archie Rice, following in the footsteps of legendary actor Laurence Olivier. Branagh has extensive stage and screen credits, most recently appearing in his own productions of The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade and The Painkiller at the Garrick Theatre London. Gawn Grainger replaces John Hurt as Billy Rice, Archie’s father. Grainger has an illustrious stage career, including countless appearances at the National Theatre, Almeida, Globe and Donmar Warehouse. Most recently he appeared in the acclaimed Three Days in the Country.

Additional cast members include Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Sophie McShera (Jerusalem, Downton Abbey) as Jean Rice and Greata Scacchi as Phoebe Rice.

Show Lengths and Times

The Entertainer opens at the Garrick Theatre London on August 20th and is set to run until November 12th 2016. Performances are at 7:30pm every day, excluding Sundays, with an additional matinee on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2:30pm.

Show running time roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.

Suitable for Children?

The Entertainer may not be suited to young children. Please note that the Garrick Theatre does not supply booster cushions.



Tickets for The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre London are now on sale and you can book them above, by using the search form on the right of the page.


Have you seen The Entertainer? If so please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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