John Osborne, The Entertainer

Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)
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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 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=953, 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.

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