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John Hurt returning to West End stage

Veteran actor John Hurt is returning to London’s West End after a ten-year absence to play Kenneth Branagh’s father in The Entertainer.
The Alien actor, who was recently given the all-clear after a battle with pancreatic cancer, will star in the revival of the 1957 drama, about a family of music hall stars. He will play Billy Rice, a legendary performer, and Branagh will portray his son Archie, who has a failing career.
The play will be Hurt’s first time on a London stage since he starred in Krapp’s Last Tape ten years ago.
Hurt admits he still gets nervous despite his experience, especially as his character is the first onstage. He tells Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, “It’s always a difficult job to kick a play off… I get nervous; frightened. I get worried about actors who don’t get nervous! I think only idiots don’t get nervous.”
Branagh is excited to work alongside the veteran, adding, “Billy Rice is a legendary performer: spry and sexy. He’s fit, fiery and ready for anything. So is John Hurt.”
They will also be joined onstage by former Downton Abbey star Sophie McShera, who played maid Daisy in the TV drama.
The Entertainer is part of the first season produced by Branagh’s new theatre company. It opens at the Garrick Theatre on 20 August (16).
Hurt, 76, announced he was diagnosed with cancer in June, 2015 but declared himself in remission in October, 2015.

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