John Hurt returns to London stage

John Hurt is returning to the London stage for the first time in a decade to star alongside Kenneth Branagh.

The pair will appear in The Entertainer – with Hurt playing patriarch Billy Rice opposite Branagh’s Archie Rice – in what will be the final production in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s Plays at the Garrick season.

Hurt, 76, has been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer, but received “extremely encouraging news” from his specialist late last year, a spokesman for the veteran actor said.

Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborne’s modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment.

Hurt said: “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 20th century.

“This has been a wonderfully successful season for Ken Branagh and his company, and I feel proud and privileged to be joining them.”

Copyright John Hurt