Shane Richie will play Archie Rice in a brand-new production of John Osborne’s The Entertainer, it has been announced.
Directed by Sean O’Connor, this innovative and updated adaptation will open at Leicester Curve in August and then tour the UK until November.
1982: Archie Rice is a washed-up entertainer playing a summer season. As his soldier son sails with the Task Force to liberate the Falklands, his daughter Jean returns from campaigning against the war, and Archie’s professional and personal lives collide with devastating consequences.
Curve’s chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster said: “As our country faces one of the most tumultuous periods since the end of the Second World War, the play captures the zeitgeist and is tantalisingly ripe for revival.
“It’s a thrilling play – epic and filled with humanity – and provides Shane Richie with a role he was born to play; we know it will be an hilarious and heartbreaking performance.
“We are also thrilled to welcome director Sean O’Connor to Curve, whose compelling vision for the play will reveal it afresh to an entirely new generation.”
Shane Richie said: “Following in the black patent shoes of Olivier, Gambon, Lindsay & Branagh, it’s an incredible honour to be asked to play one of literature’s greatest fictional characters, Archie Rice.
“In the words of the great man himself ‘you’re a long time dead, let’s just whoop it up!'”
Director Sean O’Connor said: “Osborne’s story has never seemed more relevant or more timely.
“Against the backdrop of the Falklands War, the satirical new world of alternative comedy has dismissed Archie’s style of humour and his sort of act as old–fashioned and even offensive.
“The mother-in-law joke has been outlawed and a generation of entertainers like Archie have suddenly found themselves irrelevant.
“At the same time, in the wake of recent abuse scandals, a certain cultural attitude- and a certain sort of man- has been exposed as outmoded and redundant; this is an Entertainer for 2019.
“It’s a tribute to Osborne’s genius that this play resonates beyond the historical moment it was written in and speaks to us directly today with such prescience, power and truth.
“It’s THE state of the nation play, but it’s also a moving examination of family and failure as well as a defiant roar in the face of the relentless inevitability of change.
“I’m hugely excited to bring this new vision of one of the 20th century’s finest plays to the stage and completely thrilled to have secured Shane – one of the great entertainers of today – to play one of the most iconic roles in British theatre.”
THE ENTERTAINER – UK TOUR DATES
August 27 – 31, Curve Theatre, Leicester September 2 – 7, Milton Keynes Theatre September 9 – 14, Festival Theatre Malvern September 16 – 21, Plymouth Theatre Royal September 23 – 28, New Victoria Theatre, Woking September 30 – October 5, Eastbourne Theatres October 7 – 12, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre October 15 – 19, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry October 21 – 26, Theatre Royal, Brighton October 28 – November 3, Manchester Opera House November 4 – 9, Churchill Theatre, Bromley November 11 – 16 Cheltenham Everyman November 18 – 23, Shrewsbury Severn Theatre November 25 – 30, Richmond Theatre.