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Sir John Hurt returns to London stage in play with Branagh

Sir John Hurt is returning to the London stage for the first time in a decade and will star alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh.

The pair will appear in The Entertainer - with Sir John playing patriarch Billy Rice opposite Sir Kenneth's Archie Rice, in what will be the final production in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's Plays at the Garrick season.

Sir John, 76, received treatment for pancreatic cancer, but received "extremely encouraging news" from his specialist late last year, a spokesman for the veteran actor said.

Set against the backdrop of post-war Britain, John Osborneʼs modern classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls for an explosive examination of public masks and private torment.

Sir John said: "I am thrilled to be invited to play Billy Rice in this production of what I believe to be one of the great plays of the twentieth century.

"This has been a wonderfully successful season for Ken Branagh and his company, and I feel proud and privileged to be joining them."

The Entertainer will play at the Garrick Theatre from August 20 until November 12, and will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide in the autumn.

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