Kenneth Branagh On His Big Return to the London Stage
Sir Ken Talks to Time Out About Why He’s Returning to the West End For the Long Haul With Five Exciting Productions at the Garrick Theatre
TimeOut London, 17 April 2015
Actor, director and all-round knight of the realm Kenneth Branagh returns to the West End this autumn with an intense season of work that’ll stop him helming any more superhero movies until at least 2017. He stars in ‘The Winter’s Tale’ with Judi Dench (October 17-January 16 2016), Terence Rattigan’s ‘Harlequinade’ (October 24-January 13 2016), Francis Veber’s ‘The Painkiller’ with Rob Brydon (March 5 2016-April 30) and John Osborne’s ‘The Entertainer’ (August 20 2016-November 12), plus he directs Lily James and Richard Madden in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (May 12 2016-August 13).
We wait seven years for one Branagh play and now five come along at once – what’s the deal?
Are you looking forward to being back in our fair city?
You’re starring in four of the plays and directing three of them. Is that not, you know, a bit nuts?
You’ve directed some pretty surprising films in the last few years – ‘Thor’, ‘Jack Ryan’ – but this season is old-school Branagh: ‘The Painkiller’ is the only play under 50. Are you comfortable with that?
People always compare you to Laurence Olivier. Did you have any second thoughts about taking on ‘The Entertainer’, the 1957 play that made him cool again?
‘The Winter’s Tale’ contains history’s most notorious stage direction: ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’. Have you decided what you’re doing about that one?
Kenneth Branagh kicks off his return to the London stage with ‘The Winter’s Tale’ at the Garrick Theatre, Oct 17 2015-Jan 16 2016.