The Entertainer, The Churchill Theatre

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Review by Valerie Carter

In 1956 John Osborne wrote “The Entertainer”, setting it during the Suez Crisis. For this updated production it is transposed to 1982 during the Falklands war. Shane Richie plays Archie Rice , the role originated by Sir Laurence Olivier. Jean Rice, his daughter, is played by Diana Vickers. His father Billy Rice is played by Pip Donaghy. His wife Phoebe Rice is advertised as being played by Sara Crowe but last night was played by her understudy Alice Osmanski.

THE ENTERTAINER by John Osbourne ; Directed by Sean O’Connor ; Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell ; Sound Design by Chris James ; Musical Design by Greg Arrowsmith ; Choreography by Emily Holt ; A Curve Theatre & Simon Friend Entertainment Co-production ; Leicester, UK ; 27 August 2019 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Christopher Bonwell played Archie’s son Frank Rice. There wasn’t a weak link in the cast. All of them gave great performances. Archie is a past his prime comic, on the run from the Inland Revenue. He also has another son, Michael, who is in the armed forces and is currently in the Falklands.

THE ENTERTAINER by John Osbourne ; Directed by Sean O’Connor ; Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell ; Sound Design by Chris James ; Musical Design by Greg Arrowsmith ; Choreography by Emily Holt ; A Curve Theatre & Simon Friend Entertainment Co-production ; Leicester, UK ; 27 August 2019 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

The play kept moving between Archie’s stand-up performances , where he was dying a death every night and knew it, and his home life that was falling apart too. Every so often film of events from 1982 was flashed up. [ It’s not very often you can say a show featured Margaret Thatcher, a “Frank Spencer” impression, Evita and “Not the Nine O’Clock News.]

THE ENTERTAINER by John Osbourne ; Directed by Sean O’Connor ; Lighting Design by Tim Mitchell ; Sound Design by Chris James ; Musical Design by Greg Arrowsmith ; Choreography by Emily Holt ; A Curve Theatre & Simon Friend Entertainment Co-production ; Leicester, UK ; 27 August 2019 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

The Entertainer continues on tour https://www.theentertainerplay.co.uk/

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