Habeas Corpus

Menier Chocolate Factory, London
Habeas Corpus
Menier Chocolate Factory, London

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 will be available on London Theatre soon.

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 will be available soon.

Previews from |
3rd December 2021
Opening date |
13th December 2021
Closes |
26th February 2022
Alan Bennett
Patrick Marber
Songs by:
Adam Cork
Neil Austin
Adam Cork
Richard Hudson
Richard Hudson
Cast list:
Kirsty Besterman, Jasper Britton, Matthew Cottle, Ria Jones, Thomas Josling, Caroline Langrishe, Catherine Russell and Abdul Salis

Menier Chocolate Factory Venue Information

Menier Chocolate Factory, 51 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU
Nearest tube:
London Bridge

Customer reviews

Our Review of Habeas Corpus

This is one of the funniest comedies on the West End at the moment with some superb acting. It is very difficult to pick out the best performers as all played their part so well. Read more

Latest Habeas Corpus News & Features

Photo credit: Menier Chocolate Factory (Photo by Simopala on Flickr under CC 2.0) 
Ria Jones to star in ‘Habeas Corpus’ at Menier Chocolate Factory
Friday, 17 September, 2021, 10:39
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,...
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