Gawn Grainger has joined the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company production of The Entertainer, which began rehearsals this week. Gawn is playing Billy Rice and replaces John Hurt who, on the advice of his doctors, recently had to withdraw from the production.
Preview performances for Rob Ashford’s production at the Garrick Theatre begin on 20 August, with an official opening night on 30 August. Kenneth Branagh will play Archie Rice alongside Phil Dunster as Graham, Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Crispin Letts as Brother Bill, Sophie McShera as Jean Rice and Greta Scacchi as Phoebe Rice. Further casting also includes Lauren Alexandra, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan and Kate Tydman as dancers.
Gawn Grainger began his career as the Boy Prince in Ivor Novello's King's Rhapsody at the Prince's Theatre when he was twelve years old. Recent stage credits include The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic), Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe) and The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse). Other work in the West End includes Onassis, Absolutely Perhaps and The Crucible. Gawn was also a company member in Laurence Olivier’s inaugural season at the National Theatre’s South Bank venue in 1976. Previous productions at the National Theatre include A Woman Killed With Kindness, Some Trace Of Her, Sing Your Heart Out For The Lands, The Passion, The Seagull and The Misanthrope. At the Almeida Gawn has appeared in Harold Pinter’s productions of No Man’s Land, Party Time and Mountain Language and Rupert Goold’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.
Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborneʼs modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment.