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
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.