The Entertainer, the final production in the Branagh Theatre season at the West End's Garrick Theatre, is to see John Hurt join Kenneth Branagh in the cast, playing father to Branagh's Archie Rice. It begins performances August 20, prior to an official opening August 30, for a season through November 12.
The production is directed by Rob Ashford, who has previously co-directed The Winter's Tale and Harlequinade for the company as well as Branagh's Macbeth at Manchester International Festival that subsequently transferred to New York's Park Avenue Armory.
Also joining the company will be Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Sophie McShera as Jean Rice and Greta Scacchi as Phoebe Rice.
Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborne's 1950s play conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an examination of public masks and private torment.
In partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, The Entertainer will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide in the fall, dates for which are yet to be announced. Participating cinemas and further information about Branagh Theatre Live can be found at branaghtheatrelive.com.
In a press statement, Hurt commented, "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."
Hurt has appeared in over 150 films, including Alien, Midnight Express, The Elephant Man, 1984, The Hit, The Field, Love and Death on Long Island, V for Vendetta, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Snowpiercer, Hercules and playing Mr. Ollivander in the Harry Potter series. He has been twice Oscar-nominated, and received two Evening Standard Awards, including the Alexander Walker Special Award in 2012 and a Golden Globe. He has also appeared regularly on stage, including Brian Friel's Afterplay (Dublin and West End) and Krapp's Last Tape (Dublin, London's Barbican, Washington's Shakespeare Theatre, New York's Brooklyn Academy of Music and LA's Kirk Douglas Theatre).
In a press statement, Scaachi commented, "I am thrilled to be working opposite Ken at last! I have known him since the start of our careers 30-something years ago and, although we played husband and wife in a radio play 5 years ago, this will be the first time we are on stage together."
Scaachi has appeared extensively on film and TV, including an Emmy Award-winning performance as Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia in the HBO film Rasputin. Other credits include Heat and Dusk, Presumed Innocent, Beyond the Sea, White Mischief, The Browning Version, Country Life, Jefferson in Paris, The Red Violin, The Player, Brideshead Revisited and The Falling. Most recently she was seen in War and Peace as Countess Natalya Rostova. Her West End stage credits include Bette & Joan, The Deep Blue Sea and Uncle Vanya.
Sophie McShera was seen as stepsister Drisella Tremaine in Kenneth Branagh’s film Cinderella as well as kitchen maid Daisy Robinson in Downton Abbey (ITV). She has been seen in the West End in Jerusalem.
Jonah Hauer-King, who makes his West End debut in The Entertainer, was recently seen in Punk Rock (Lyric, Belfast) and will be seen later this year in the films Ashes in the Snow and The Last Photograph.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 9673 or visit www.branaghtheatre.com.