John Osborne: The Entertainer

(1225 words)
  • Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)

The Entertainer (1957) sought to highlight the spirit of a Britain battered beyond endurance, at the brink of financial and moral bankruptcy. Osborne uses a mixture of the realistic “kitchen-sink” style, of which he was a major proponent, and an innovative post-Brechtian structure with multiple scenes which switch the setting from the Rice family\'s fairly sordid lodgings, on to the variety-theatre stage. At various times, the audience is either that of a socially-critical play by John Osborne or of a pathetic but intense variety performance. Archie Rice, the entertainer of the title, is one of Osborne\'s brilliant but partisan, perhaps semi-autobiographical portraits, which characterize his major plays. He is also the …

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Wyllie, Andrew. "The Entertainer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]

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