Plays don't come trickier or harder to pin down tonally than Habeas Corpus, Alan Bennett's 1973 farce of sorts whose abiding topic turns out to be death. Full of jokes about outsized breasts, terminal illness, and suicidal patients who can't get seen by their doctor, this dark comedy would seem an especially odd fit for these morally scrupulous times, not least with Bennett experiencing criticism for some of his more bizarre (at times genuinely off-putting) imaginings. In fact, as Sam Mendes...
Habeas Corpus Tickets
Habeas Corpus Information
Alan Bennett’s farce play Habeas Corpus is at the Menier Chocolate Factory in 2021. The British comedy made its West End debut nearly 50 years ago, and the Habeas Corpus revival is set to have audiences in fits of laughter. Habeas Corpus tickets are available on London Theatre now.
The Habeas Corpus play follows the Wicksteed family in 1960s Hove. On the outside, their picture-perfect house appears trouble free. But as soon as the door opens, the Wicksteed house welcomes a merry-go-round of sexual pleasures and mistaken identities. Mr. Wicksteed is head of the house, living with his wife, Muriel. But Mr. Wicksteed cannot be trusted as a monogamous man, especially with spinster friend Connie vying for affection.
One motto rules in Habeas Corpus: “He whose lust lasts, lasts longest.” Can this sexual passion be tamed, or will the lasciviousness lead to bad decisions?
Habeas Corpus is one of Alan Bennett’s earliest comedies, and was his third full-length play to open in the West End. Alec Guinness starred in the original Habeas Corpus production, which opened in 1973 at the Lyric Theatre. In 1996, Habeas Corpus was revived at the Donmar Warehouse, with Sam Mendes directing Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton.
But for all the play’s comedy, the show’s title derives from Latin, now used in law by someone applying for another person’s lawful release. If translating directly from Latin, “habeas corpus” means “you shall have the body.”
Habeas Corpus is one of Alan Bennett’s best-known plays, joining The History Boys and The Madness of George III. The octogenarian’s latest play was Allelujah!, staged at the Bridge Theatre in 2018.
The Habeas Corpus revival is directed by Patrick Marber, who makes a return to directing comedies. Recently, Marber’s directed Tom Stoppard plays Leopoldstadt and Travesties.
Tickets to Habeas Corpus are available now. Book Habeas Corpus tickets on London Theatre today.
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Cast and creative
By: Alan Bennett
Songs by: Adam Cork
Director: Patrick Marber
Cast list: Katie Bernstein, Kirsty Besterman, Jasper Britton, Matthew Cottle, Ria Jones, Thomas Josling, Caroline Langrishe, Kelvin O'Mard, Catherine Russell, Abdul Salis and Dan Starkey.
Design: Richard Hudson
Lighting: Neil Austin
Costume: Richard Hudson
Sound: Adam Cork
Latest Habeas Corpus News & Features
Watch the news at the moment and it's like seeing a farce unfold. There's exaggerated stories, nobody trusts each other, and everyone shakes their heads in disbelief. But what if crazy turns of events were actually meant to happen? When we spoke with Ria Jones about Habeas Corpus, Alan Bennett's 1970s comedy play being staged at the Menier Chocolate Factory this winter, it's apparent that life is imitating art. "It's quite bizarre how [the dialogue] is so current to a point where the audience...
Ahead of the first London revival of Habeas Corpus in 25 years, the inital casting has been revealed. Habeas Corpus is at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 3 December - 26 February.The Habeas Corpus cast will star Kirsty Besterman as Constance Wicksteed, Jasper Britton as Arthur Wicksteed, Matthew Cottle as Canon Throbbing, Ria Jones as Mrs Swabb, Thomas Josling as Dennis Wicksteed, Caroline Langrishe as Lady Rumpers, Catherine Russell as Muriel Wicksteed and Abdul Salis as Mr Shanks. The cast...
Currently directing the world premiere of Leopoldstadt at the Wyndham's Theatre, Patrick Marber will direct a revival of Habeas Corpus. The 1970s comedy will be revived at the Menier Chocolate Factory, with performances from May 2020.Habeas Corpus at the Menier In a tweet by Baz Bamigboye, Habeas Corpus will be revived at the Menier Chocolate Factory with performances from 15th May, ahead of an official opening night on 21st May and a final performance on 4th July.Details on casting and a full...