Reviewed by Amanda Browne
The Entertainer opened at Milton Keynes Theatre last night (Monday 2 September 2019) and I went along with my daughter (the audience was very mixed in age). There is ample parking surrounding the theatre along with a variety of bars and restaurants to cater for all tastes. I would say arrive early if you looking to eat as the Theatre District in Milton Keynes is a very popular area. It might also be worth noting that The Piano Bar is under renovation if you were looking to eat at the theatre.
Shane Ritchie is the star attraction for this play and he gave a strong fine performance in the role memorably created on stage and screen by Laurence Olivier. Archie Rice is the son of an entertainer, also an entertainer.
The play gives an insight into a family struggling, not just with everyday life and their tangled relationships, but a soldier son being taken hostage in the Falklands conflict. The five characters each in their own worlds come together, in body, if not mind, to find a way to deal with their frustrations at life and the world as they know it at that time. The play shows how the family struggle to deal with their emotions surrounding what’s happening with their loved one.
The set is mainly the family living room, a room in rented accommodation. The family rail against the other neighbours. The language could at times be quite risqué and controversial. If easily offended, then this isn’t the play for you. Grandad was a central character and there were several touching moments that caused me to reflect on my own relationship with my grandfather.
I have tried where possible to go to shows that maybe I wouldn’t necessarily go and see. You shouldn’t go and see this play if you want the cheeky and loveable Shane Ritchie of EastEnders (I have never seen it), you should go to see a stand-out performance by a genuinely talented gentleman. I found myself very moved at times by Archie, uncomfortable for Archie at what appeared to be his inner sadness at how life had treated him, then I laughed with Archie. Poor Phoebe, played by the Olivier award-winning Sara Crowe, did her best to please Archie, but failed in many ways.
The Entertainer won’t be for everyone but it’s worth a watch, it has a great set of actors and is showing in Milton Keynes until the end of the week, if you are looking for an evening out this week go along and see this play.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
The Entertainer is at Milton Keynes Theatre from 2-7 September 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes or call the box office on 0844 8717652.
Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 3NZ