Former EastEnders boss Sean O’Connor brings the Alfie Moon actor to the stage.

Shane as Alfie Moon in EastEnders.

“Osborne’s story of a man who faces the end of his career in the declining days of a popular art form in the context of Britain struggling to establish its place on the international stage has never seemed more relevant or more timely. I’m hugely excited to bring this new vision of one of the 20th century’s finest plays to the stage and completely thrilled to have secured Shane – one of the great entertainers of today – to play one of the most iconic roles in British theatre.” – Sean O’Connor

Shane Richie will play ‘Archie Rice’ in a brand-new production of John Osborne’s The Entertainer – chosen as one of the greatest plays of the 20th century by Michael Billington. Directed by Sean O’Connor, this innovative adaptation will open at Curve on 27th August 2019 and then tour the UK until November. For the first time since its premiere in 1957, this classic play will be given a vibrant new setting.

Archie Rice is a washed-up entertainer playing a summer season. As his soldier son sails with the Task Force to liberate the Falklands, his daughter Jean returns from campaigning against the war, and Archie’s professional and personal lives collide with devastating consequences. Against the backdrop of the Falklands War of 1982, the satirical new world of alternative comedy has dismissed Archie’s style of humour and his sort of act as old–fashioned and even offensive. The mother-in-law joke has been outlawed and a generation of entertainers like Archie have suddenly found themselves irrelevant.

Shane is best-known to TV viewers for his role of Alfie Moon in EastEnders, pictured with on-screen wife Kat (Jessie Wallace).

At the same time, in the wake of recent abuse scandals, a certain cultural attitude- and a certain sort of man- has been exposed as outmoded and redundant; this is an Entertainer for 2019. It’s a tribute to Osborne’s genius that this play resonates beyond the historical moment it was written in and speaks to us directly today with such prescience, power and truth. It’s THE state of the nation play, but it’s also a moving examination of family and failure as well as a defiant roar in the face of the relentless inevitability of change. 

“Osborne’s masterpiece was first presented in 1957 and alongside Archie Rice’s failing career, invited the audience to consider its own culture and what it meant to be English at a time of huge shifts within British society. Times have clearly changed, but as our country faces one of the most tumultuous periods since the end of the Second World War, the play once again captures the zeitgeist and is tantalisingly ripe for revival. It’s a thrilling play – epic and filled with humanity – and provides Shane Richie with a role he was born to play; we know it will be an hilarious and heartbreaking performance. We are also thrilled to welcome director Sean O’Connor to Curve, whose compelling vision for the play will reveal it afresh to an entirely new generation.” – Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster

Shane has also had a music career, releasing albums.

Shane Richie has been working in showbiz for forty years from holiday camps to theatre, film & TV; and he has been a regular fixture on prime time television hosting such shows as Lucky Numbers for ITV, Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on Sky One and Win Your Wish List on BBC One. It is however his role of Alfie Moon that he’s best known for with regular appearances over the last two decades in EastEnders. Drama roles have included Oliver Twist for the BBC, What We Did On Our Holidays for ITV, Skins for Channel 4 and a re-boot of 1980s classic Minder over on Channel 5.

The Entertainer is a co-production between Curve, Anthology Theatre, and Simon Friend Entertainment..

“Following in the black patent shoes of Olivier, Gambon, Lindsay & Branagh, it’s an incredible honour to be asked to play one of literatures greatest fictional characters, Archie Rice. In the words of the great man himself “you’re a long time dead, let’s just whoop it up!” – Shane Richie

Former EastEnders and The Archers boss Sean O’Connor will direct the production.
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