John Osborne, The Entertainer

Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error
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 embodiment of a kind of heroic failure, a sympathetic figure…

1225 words

Citation: Wyllie, Andrew. "The Entertainer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001 [, accessed 12 June 2024.]

953 The Entertainer 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.