Theatre News

John Hurt joins Kenneth Branagh in The Entertainer

Hurt will play Billy Rice in John Osbourne’s 1957 drama

John Hurt
John Hurt will play Billy Rice in The Entertainer

Following a ten year hiatus from the London stage, The Elephant Man and Harry Potter star John Hurt will return to join the cast of The Entertainer, opening at the Garrick Theatre in August.

John Osborne's 1957 drama, directed by Rob Ashford, is part of the Plays at the Garrick season which has also included turns from Judi Dench in The Winter's Tale and Adrian Lester in Red Velvet.

The Entertainer tells the story of a family of performers on the seedy music hall circuit in post-war Britain. Hurt will play Billy Rice, father of Archie played by Kenneth Branagh.

Further casting includes Greta Scacchi (Brideshead Revisited, War and Peace) as Phoebe, Sophie McShera (Downton Abbey) as Jean and Jonah Hauer-King (Punk Rock) as Frank.

On joining the cast Hurt said: "I am thrilled to be invited to play Billy Rice in this production of what I believe to be one of the great plays of the twentieth century. This has been a wonderfully successful season for Ken Branagh and his company, and I feel proud and privileged to be joining them."

The Entertainer will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide in the autumn, the date of the broadcast will be announced soon.

Other upcoming productions in the Plays at the Garrick season include Romeo and Juliet starring Derek Jacobi and the recently announced Meera Syal, and The Painkiller which will see Branagh play alongside comedian Rob Brydon.

The Entertainer runs at the Garrick Theatre from 20 August – 12 November.

Click here to book tickets for The Entertainer