For the past year Sir Kenneth Branagh and his theatre company’s creative home has been the Garrick Theatre on London’s Charing Cross Road. The ‘Plays At The Garrick’ debut season has now entered its final chapter with John Osborne’s THE ENTERTAINER, featuring Sir Ken in the lead role as the failing music-hall performer Archie Rice. He appeared in four of the six productions and co-directing three with Rob Ashford.
My montage sketch depicts him as Archie, hit-man Ralph in THE PAINKILLERS and Leontes, the King of Sicily in Shakespeare’s THE WINTER’S TALE. I caught up the the theatrical knight himself as he arrived at the stage door on Saturday morning, as usual, hours before the matinee and signed it for me. I asked if there would be another residency next year and he replied. “As Mr Schwarzenegger would say, we’ll be back.”
Lauded as one of the great Shakespearean interpreters on both stage and film, Sir Kenneth Branagh returned to Shakespeare after more than a decade in July 2013. He co-directed and headlined in Macbeth with Rob Ashford at the Manchester International Festival. Alex Kingston played Lady Macbeth. Set in the intimate, deconsecrated St Peter’s Church to sell-out performances, the production will transfer to the Park Avenue Armoury in New York this June, marking Ken’s stage debut in the Big Apple.
A BAFTA and Emmy winner, he is the first man to be nominated for an Academy Award in five different categories, the most recent as Supporting Actor, playing Sir Laurence Olivier in My Week With Marilyn.
He walked the red carpet at the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit European premiere at the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square this week as both director and antagonist Russian Viktor Cherevin, and signed my quick black biro Macbeth portrait.