Season begins with a comedy drama classic at Loft in Leamington

Phil Reynolds in The Entertainer
Phil Reynolds in The Entertainer

John Osborne’s powerful comedy drama The Entertainer opens the new season at the Loft Theatre in Leamington next week.

Having depicted an “angry young man” in his earlier play Look Back in Anger, Osborne wrote The Entertainer following a personal request from Laurence Olivier for one about an “angry middle-aged man”. The play opened on 10 April 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre, London with Olivier in the leading role of Archie Rice.

At the height of the British Empire, music hall flourished in every town in Britain, but by 1957 it had all but faded away. The play tells how Archie Rice, a third-rate music-hall comedian who always lived in the shadow of his more successful father, wilfully refuses to move with the times.

He narrowly eludes the tax man and the bankruptcy courts, while his air of bitterness and cynicism has rubbed off onto the members of his family.

Phil Reynolds takes on the role of Archie, supported by a cast of players well-known to local theatre audiences. They include Wendy Morris as his long-suffering wife Pheobe, Steve Smith as his father Billy, Connor Bailey as son Frank, and Kate Brash as daughter Jean.

Director William Wilkinson said: “The sad, pathetic fall of Archie Rice is a modern classic that grabs you by the throat and never lets go through laughter, song and dance, and tears.”

The Entertainer runs from Wednesday October 5 to Saturday October 15 at 7.30pm. Visit www.loft-theatre.co.uk or call 0844 493 4938 to book.