It’s been seven years since Kenneth Branagh last graced the London stage, having spent the intervening years directing in Hollywood and acting in other, lesser cities.
But today Sir Ken announced that he’s back back back with a five-play stint that’ll run at the West End’s Garrick Theatre from October 17.
The Kenneth Branagh Company’s ‘Plays at the Garrick’ season begins with what’ll probably be its hottest ticket: Branagh starring opposite Judi Dench in Shakespeare’s great late play ‘The Winter’s Tale’ (Oct 17-Jan 16 2016). That’ll run in rep with a rare revival of Terence Rattigan’s light comedy ‘Harlequinade’ (Oct 24-Jan 13 2016), also starring Branagh.
After a short break for rehearsals, it’ll be time for a restaging of Sean Foley’s adaptation of Francis Verber’s dark comedy ‘The Painkiller’ (Mar 5 2016-Apr 30 2016), which stars Rob Brydon and – you guessed it – Branagh and played to acclaim in Belfast a couple of years ago.
Branagh will be assuming directorial duties only for ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (May 12 2016-Aug 13 2016), which will star the leads from his recent film of ‘Cinderella’, Lily James and Richard Madden.
But he’ll be front and centre for the final show: John Osborne’s ‘The Entertainer’ (Aug 20 2016-Nov 12 2016), in which Branagh will follow in the footsteps of his hero Laurence Olivier to play embittered music hall entertainer Archie Rice.
And that’s it… for now. Tickets go on sale at 9am today at timeout.com/tickets.
By Andrzej Lukowski