Habeas Corpus

By Alan Bennett

Synopsis:

Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus, set in the late 1960s, has all the ingredients of a classic but surreal farce, spiced with the warmth and humanity of Bennett’s razor-sharp wit.

Dr and Mrs Wicksteed, his sister Connie, their hypochondriac son Dennis, and Connie’s long-term fiancé Canon Throbbing, live in Hove - a seaside town as yet untouched by the Permissive Society. But beneath the surface hidden desires are bubbling, and the arrival of Lady Rumpers from the colonies, her gorgeous daughter Felicity, and, coincidentally, Sir Percy Shorter, the president of the British Medical Association, prove a combustible mixture. However, it’s Mr Shanks, a ‘falsies’ fitter from Leatherhead and keen to provide a professional service to his customers, who triggers the explosion, and a positive tsunami of mistaken identities and surging passions ensues.

Habeas Corpus, like some saucy McGill seaside postcard retouched by Magritte, or an end-of-the-pier romp reorganised by Orton, explodes with fun as trousers are dropped, the wrong knockers are admiringly fondled and suppressed libidos burst out of enforced hibernation. In the midst of it all, Mrs Swabb, charlady-cum-philosopher and latter-day Greek chorus (a part originally played by Bennett himself) provides an ironic, all-knowing commentary.

This delightful Next Stage, New Year romp is already proving to be extremely popular so don’t delay - get your tickets before they sell out.

Habeas Corpus
This show was performed at The Mission Theatre, Bath in January 2017.

Director/s | Cast:

Alison Paine

Alison Paine

Director

Joanna Bowman

Joanna Bowman

Lady Rumpers

Annabel Chater

Annabel Chater

Constance Wicksteed

Dave Dunn

Dave Dunn

Mr Purdue

Kay Francksen

Kay Francksen

Muriel Wicksteed

Caroline Groom

Caroline Groom

Mrs Swabb

David Holt

David Holt

Dr Wicksteed

Ren Leming

Ren Leming

Canon Throbbing

John Matthews

John Matthews

Sir Percy Shorter

Andrew McGrath

Andrew McGrath

Dennis Wicksteed

Ella MacGregor-Bellaart

Ella MacGregor-Bellaart

Felicity Rumpers

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens

Mr Shanks

Review/s of Habeas Corpus:

Review 1: “This is great entertainment played with highly professional relish by the whole cast.”

National treasure that he is, Alan Bennett invariably slips something risque into his material. With Habeas Corpus, he rarely slips anything in that isn’t risque. It’s a McGill postcard come to life and, obviously to Bennett’s amusement, set in Hove, the posh end of Brighton. Based in the house of Dr Arthur Wicksteed and his unsatisfied wife Muriel, where “Arthur falls asleep as soon as his…click here to read the whole review.

By Philip Horton, Bath Chronicle

Review 2: The entire cast are picture perfect, the comedy is bawdy and the timing is immaculate.

This is classic Bennett with his razor sharp wit and thought provoking humanity, full of warmth with frantic humour bordering on farce; on this occasion the cast at The Mission Theatre have got it absolutely right. The plot is a satirical merry go round we are presented with a series of mistaken identities, sexual tensions and dropped trousers in true comedy style. Set in Hove, Dr. Wicksteed alongside…click here to read the whole review.

By Petra Schofield

Show and rehearsal photographs: