John Hurt Withdraws from The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre
Back in February the exciting news emerged of John Hurt playing Billy Rice in The Entertainer at the Garrick Theatre, but today the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company reveals that this is no longer the case. The veteran actor has withdrawn from the production on medical grounds and the role of Billy Rice is thusly up in the air until the next announcement is made.
Hurt’s involvement in the production was naturally the source of great excitement, with audiences clamouring to witness the star of films like Alien, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Elephant Man.
He shared their enthusiasm, commenting in February: “I am thrilled to be invited to play Billy Rice in this production of what I believe to be one of the great plays of the twentieth century. This has been a wonderfully successful season for Ken Branagh and his company, and I feel proud and privileged to be joining them.”
Speaking this month about the news of his withdrawal, Hurt gave this update: “I have recently been in hospital with an intestinal complaint and although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role.
“It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer.
“I would like to send Ken, Rob (Ashford – the director) and the entire company my love and very best wishes for a happy and successful production of a wonderful play.”
Hurt’s other theatre credits have included Krapp’s Last Tape at the Ambassadors Theatre and Heroes at the Wyndham’s Theatre, but audiences will now have to wait a little longer to see the iconic actor return to the stage.
Those planning to see the production from August, however, will still see performances from Kenneth Branagh, Phil Dunster, Jonah Hauer-King, Crispin Letts, Sophie McShera, Greta Scacchi, Lauren Alexandra, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan and Kate Tydman.
The Entertainer opens at the Garrick Theatre on Saturday 20th August 2016.