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The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company have today announced that actor John Hurt has had to withdraw from their upcoming revival of John Osborne's The Entertainer following medical advice. The production is the final show in the Kenneth Branagh season at the Garrick Theatre and begins preview performances on 20 August 2016.
John Hurt was due to play Billy Rice in the production opposite Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice. The cast also includes 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, Lauren Alexandra, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan and Kate Tydman. His replacement will be announced in due course.
Commenting on his withdrawal, the 76 year old actor said: “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.”
Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborne's modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment. The production runs from 20 August to 12 November 2016, with an official opening on 30 August 2016.