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Ended 12 Nov 2016 after 2 months

Kenneth Branagh takes on Olivier's groundbreaking role

Closed 12 Nov 2016


One of Britain's best acting exports makes his welcome return to the stage in John Osborne's gritty kitchen sink drama, which originally starred Sir Laurence Olivier in a shock move from the West End. Cleverly mirroring the decline of the jingoistic attitudes and decline of Empire against the crumbling facade of a seedy nude revue, the play seeks to explore the changing attitudes of the mid-Fifties, and how family tragedy casts a different pall on nationalistic belief.


A devastating and disarming portrait of an angry middle-aged man (a progression from the angry young man trope) we follow vaudeville hoofer Archie Rice who sees his once illustrious career reduced to playing in a seedy nude revue at the seaside in a ramshackle old music hall. At home, Archie's life is less than rosy; his son Mick is reporting missing whilst fighting in the Middle East in the Army, whilst his other son is languishing in jail after avoiding the draft. So is it any wonder why Archie's anger spills out in jingoistic songs, racist jokes and bitterness towards foreigners?

When news of Mick arrives at the family home, Archie is suddenly confronted with the truth that he must leave his old fashioned beliefs behind, otherwise be consumed by them. The travails of old-fashioned working class Archie Rice and his family was used as a metaphor by Osborne to comment on the decline of Empire and the struggles in the Middle East - an eerie echo of what is happening today.

Additional Information


Opening night: 20 August 2016

Closing night: 12 November 2016


Suitable for ages 14+
Contains xenophobic language

Run time

To be confirmed by producers

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