The previously announced John Hurt has withdrawn fromThe Entertainer, the final production in the Branagh Theatre season at the West End's Garrick Theatre, in which he was to have played Billy Rice, father to Kenneth 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
In a press statement, Hurt has commented, "I have recently been in hospital with an intestinal complaint and although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role. It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer. I would like to send Ken, Rob and the entire company my love and very best wishes for a happy and successful production of a wonderful play.”
Also in the cast are Phil Dunster as Graham, Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Crispin Letts as Brother Bill, Sophie McShera as Jean Rice and Greta Scacchi as Phoebe Rice. Further casting also includes Lauren Alexandra, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan and Kate Tydman as dancers. Casting for the role of Billy Rice will be announced in due course.
To book tickets, contact the box office on 0844 482 9673 or visit branaghtheatre.com