The Entertainer (play)

The Entertainer is a three-act play by John Osborne, first produced in 1957. His first play, Look Back in Anger, had attracted mixed notices but a great deal of publicity.[1] Having depicted an "angry young man" in the earlier play, Osborne wrote at Laurence Olivier's request[2] about an angry middle-aged man in The Entertainer. Its main character is Archie Rice, a failing music-hall performer. Years later, Tony Richardson, who directed The Entertainer's premiere season, described Archie as "the embodiment of a national mood ... Archie was the future, the decline, the sourness, the ashes of old glory, where Britain was heading."[3] The first performance was given on 10 April 1957 at the Royal Court Theatre, London. That theatre was known for its commitment to new and non-traditional drama, and the inclusion of a West End star such as Olivier in the cast caused much interest.[4]

Cover of 1957 edition of script, showing Laurence Olivier as Archie Rice