The Entertainer – Milton Keynes Theatre – I want my money back!

I decided to take my best friend out for her birthday to go and see The Entertainer in Milton Keynes.
My friend cancelled at the last minute so I decided to go and see it by myself and use her seat as a bag holder 🙂

Milton Keynes Theatre this week entertains us with an updated version of John Osborne’s classic play, The Entertainer, starring Shane Richie. Audiences will not be disappointed.

Oh, I was disappointed. I was very disappointed. I walked out in the middle.

The story

… or how far I managed to see before I was desperately eyeing the exits.

Set in the early 80s in an old-fashioned room, we get to meet Billy Rice and his granddaughter, Jean, who seems to like to escape at her grandparents house whenever she is facing marital difficulties.
From their conversations, we learn about the “bloody immigrants” next door, the “black fellow” who is a dancer and lives downstairs and about the war.
It took me a while to put two and two together as I racked my brain to figure out what war went on in the 80s. It wasn’t Vietnam, it wasn’t the Cold War.

It was the Falklands War and the Iron Lady ruled Britain.

Billy’s son is “The Entertainer”, Archer. In little singing and dancing bouts, he debutes the show, asks for applause from the audience and sings sexist and racist songs. I was like WTF!
These jokes might have been funny 50 years ago but right now they were truly offensive. And terrible.

“A man walks with a lemon slice in his ear.
A guy asks him: Why do you have a lemon slice in your ear.
The man responds: That guy there has a hearing aid, I have a lemon aid.”

Badum tss.

This wasn’t even the worst of it. As we follow Archie around, we learn that he has been with a lot of women, still lives with his parents, still stuck in his own profession and plays a role on and off screen.
Archie’s wife, Phoebe has had more than enough of his liaisons with other women and his futile business deals, but her overriding concern is the safety of their son in the South Atlantic. Everyone in this family seems to have a problem and alcohol, for most, seems to be the solution.

They drink Gin like there’s no tomorrow.. Phoebe has a meltdown over an eaten slice of cake and throws the rest down on the floor.

More singing and dancing from “The Entertainer”
A blow-up doll appears on the stage after he fails to blow up a balloon for 3 minutes. The blow up doll bobs “her” head simulating oral sex..
What really made me go “WTF am I watching?” was another anti-war singing bout performed by a man in women’s tights with a military jacket and a water gun. In an ejaculatory motion, he sprayed water all over the audience….

When the curtain closed for the interval, I quickly gathered my belongings and walked out, only to be met outside by other people who were escaping this tragedy.
“That was awful” an 60 year old matron exclaimed
“We couldn’t take it anymore”, her husband exclaimed.

Similar grumblings could be heard from all across the outside station.

The Entertainer is as British as a seaside postcard with as much to say today as it did then.

Well, Evening Standard can blow me. It was a shit play and I hope they end it before more people lose their money without getting any Entertainment

PS: I saw Branagh Theatre Live: The Entertainer in 2016 and it was a masterpiece (solid 5/7)

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