John Hurt has withdrawn from starring in John Osborne’s The Entertainer for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company following advice from his doctors.
Hurt was due to play Billy Rice in Rob Ashford’s production, which begins preview performances at the Garrick Theatre on 20th August.
In an official statement, Hurt says: “I have recently been in hospital with an intestinal complaint and although I am much improved and on the road to a full recovery, my doctors have advised that it is too soon for me to undertake a lengthy and arduous stage role. It is therefore with great sadness and disappointment that I must withdraw from The Entertainer.
"I would like to send Ken, Rob and the entire company my love and very best wishes for a happy and successful production of a wonderful play."
Hurt's replacement is yet to be announced. The cast also includes Kenneth Branagh as Archie Rice, Phil Dunster as Graham, Jonah Hauer-King as Frank Rice, Crispin Letts as Brother Bill, Sophie McShera as Jean Rice and Greta Scacchi as Phoebe Rice as well as Lauren Alexandra, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan and Kate Tydman as dancers.
Photo Credit: BAFTA Ian Derry