Friday 9 August 2019
Ten years ago when director Sean O’Connor said to Shane Richie, “What you must do before you die is play Archie Rice in The Entertainer”, Richie wasn’t so sure.
As far as he was concerned, it was a role that was indelibly associated with that theatrical giant, Sir Laurence Olivier.
A decade later Shane has taken on the challenge of what he considers the role of a lifetime; one he was born to play.
Archie Rice is a washed up song and dance man. It is 1982 and comedy tastes have changed for ever. Gone are the sexist, racist jokes that are at the core of Archie’s act as a new breed of alternative comedians make their names in Soho’s the Comedy Store. Archie’s soldier son is off to The Falklands and his daughter is campaigning against the very same war. Archie’s professional and personal lives are about to implode with devastating consequences.
Appearing alongside Shane as Archie’s neglected wife, Phoebe is Sara Crowe (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom) and Diana Vickers (X Factor finalist, Josh) as his idealistic daughter, Jean.
Director Sean O’Connor, who has changed the setting of Osborne’s play for the very first time from 1957 to 1982, said: “I fell in love with Diana’s feisty but vulnerable LV in The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice when I saw it in the West End and am very excited about what she’ll bring to the role of Jean in The Entertainer, a young woman whose political conscience has been awakened by the Falklands war and who struggles in her combative relationship with her feckless father, Archie.
“And I’ve long been an admirer of Sara’s extraordinary work and am thrilled that she is taking on one of Osborne’s greatest female roles as Phoebe, the hapless, hopeless wife of the washed up showman, Archie Rice.”
Diana Vickers first came to the public eye as a semi-finalist in The X Factor in 2008. Her previous theatre work includes I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical, Myth, Son of A Preacher Man, Big, The Rocky Horror Show, The Duck House, Hatched and Dispatched and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in the West End. Her film credits include: Awaiting, To Dream and The Perfect Wave and television appearences include: Josh, Top Coppers and Give out Girls.
Aberdeen born and Olivier Award-winning Sara Crowe most recently appeared as Ruth in the first UK Tour of Calendar Girls, the Musical, and was seen on screen in the 2019 Comic Relief reboot of Four Weddings & A Funeral – One Red Nose Day and a Wedding. This Christmas she can be seen on BBC4 in the ghost story ‘Martins Close’ written and directed by Mark Gatiss.
Shane Richie has balanced a hugely successful forty year career between theatre, film & TV; and he has been a regular fixture on prime time television hosting such shows as Lucky Numbers (ITV), The Shane Richie Experience (ITV), Win, Lose or Draw (ITV), Don’t Forget the Lyrics! (SKY1), Reflex (BBC) and Win Your Wish List (BBC) to name but a few. Shane is well known for playing Alfie Moon in EastEnders and is currently performing in the West End in Everyone’s Talking about Jamie.
The Entertainer is a co-production between Curve, Anthology Theatre, and Simon Friend Entertainment and tickets are on sale now at Milton Keynes Theatre Box Office 0844 871 7652 www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes