Review Round Up: The Entertainer, Garrick Theatre

Kenneth Branagh stars as Archie Rice in Rob Ashford’s production now playing at the Garrick Theatre. What are critics saying about this production of John Osborne’s play?

The Guardian: *** Michael Billington thought that: “while Branagh is never less than fascinating to watch and the play makes a fitting climax to his year-long tenure at the Garrick, there is something seriously amiss about Rob Ashford’s production.”

WhatsonStage: *** Sarah Crompton wrote: “somehow, in Rob Ashford’s heavy-handed production, the play and the performance fail to ignite.”

The Independent: **** Paul Taylor praised the production saying: “Rob Ashford’s freshly-conceived revival rounds off this Company’s year-long residency at the Garrick with panache.”

The Telegraph: **** Dominic Cavendish said: “Sir Ken goes some considerable and impressive way to stamping his own authority and personality on the part.”

The Stage: **** Mark Shenton commented: “Rob Ashford’s hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric production may have a glitzy sheen – there’s an onstage band and a chorus of four dancers – but it doesn’t stint on the overwhelming air of defeat.”

The Hollywood Reporter: “no amount of inventive staging can overcome the key flaw in Ashford’s production, which is Osborne’s underlying text, a misanthropic and rambling and ultimately incoherent rant against a Cruel Britannia that no longer exists, and maybe never did.”

Time Out: **** “If it doesn’t quite channel the full force of Osborne’s bile, it’s probably the strongest production of a slightly shaky season, finally giving us the Branagh acting tour de forcewe’ve been holding out for.”

Evening Standard: *** Henry Hitchings found: “As for Osborne’s play, it hasn’t aged all that well, with its flashes of misogyny now pretty hard to stomach. Yet it still has unsettling resonance as a portrait of Britain in decline, and it’s a fitting vehicle for Branagh as he wraps up his year-long residency at the Garrick Theatre.”

The Reviews Hub: **** “Ashford gives us a worthy revival of Osborne’s cutting and often sour examination of the links between show business and real life.”

The Arts Desk: “It’s anodyne, stylish but not passionate, enjoyable but rarely moving.”

London **** “It’s a wonderful send-off to Branagh’s 13 month residency at the helm of his own company in the West End.”

Broadway World: *** “It entertains, but does not make us weep.”

Art Info: “As a revival, better that this has been shown rather than never been.”

Theatre Cat: *** “for all the professionalism, the marvellous seedy ‘50s backdrops of peeling gilt and holiday postcards by Christopher Oram; for all the standout brilliance of Greta Scacchi playing blousily despairing and helplessly angry as Archie’s wife Phoebe, it doesn’t really work.”

British Theatre Guide: “While the company’s leader gives a sensitive performance, particularly in the later stages, and receives good support, this version doesn’t have the magic of the last big London production.”

The Entertainer plays at the Garrick Theatre until the 12th November. To book tickets visit:, Discount, Last, Theatre Tickets, Love, Theatre and UK




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