John Osborne was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated playwrights and the original ‘angry young man’. Following the success of Look Back in Anger, he continued to examine the state of the country in The Entertainer, this time using three generations of a family of entertainers to symbolise the decline of post-war Britain.
To mark the play’s 50th anniversary, Robert Lindsay plays struggling comedian Archie Rice, a music-hall performer in an age when music halls had all but disappeared. Driven by dreams of stardom and a desperation to equal his father’s success, Archie finds himself a man out of his time – a selfish, deceitful has-been, headlining a tacky revue in a rundown seaside town. Family tensions rise to the boil as he shamelessly cheats on his wife and tricks his dying father into financing one last revue. But throughout it al, Archie jigs and jabbers before his ever-diminishing audience and does whatever it takes to keep the show going.