The Entertainer - performed January 1996
By John Osbourne
Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French
Director - Dennis Murfitt
Cast(in order of appearance)
Production TeamVal Taylor, Viv Wheatley, David Warner, Jenny Rollings. Patience Ling, Greg Garrod, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Trevor Amos, Geoffrey Taylor, Kevin Brown, Gill BAxter, Pamela Talbot-Ashby.
ReviewsThe entertainer was a comedy drama with music set in a coastal resort in the 1050's and revolving around a third rate music hall comedian Archie Rice, struggling to survive in the dying business. And early on the players struggled themselves to win the audiences attention, as the opening scenes were made to look almost flatulent. But by the end of the first act, Dennis Murfitt, who turned in a first rate performance as Archie had breathed some life into the show as the pace quickened.
Behind the dressing room door, Archie's family life, like his career, was held together by a tentative thread, as he neared financial collapse. From then on the direction tightened up and the play, written by John Osborne, began to take shape.
There were some good exchanges between grandad Billy Rice - a disgruntled retired performer and sounding very much like Alf Garnett - and Archie. The message of the play, probing as much the decline of Britain as of the music hall, came as Archie, growing more drunk, reveals how thin his jokes have worn and how purposeless his life really is.
INEVITABLY and indelibly associated with the Olivier performance, John Osborne’s already long play,
probing the persona and relationships of a seedy, fading comedian, is given a two-interval drawn-out presentation
by this enterprising and ambitious society.
Dennis Murfitt, who also directs the play, has the inestimable advantage of looking the part exactly with his
sad clown face and defensive eyes and develops the hollowness of Archie Rice as well as the desperate seeking
after some sort of value which will give his life point and meaning.
His long speech about the negress whose soul singing brought his single moment of revelation is beautifully done,
as it his concluding "paradise" story but his not quite sure how hard to push his music hall interludes
and something as simple as a Max Miller type jacket, rather than the elegant grey suit that does duty throughout,
might well have given just the extra boost to the playing in this particular area.
(David, Allison, Viv, Simon, Jude, Bert, Adrian, Dennis)