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Habeas Corpus
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Habeas Corpus

London, -
2 hours 30 minutes including interval
Tickets from £47.50
Prices you'll brag about

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About Habeas Corpus

The antics of the Wicksteed home are a darkly satirical merry-go-round in Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus. Family, friends and the quest for sexual pleasures of the body (“corpus”) are the ruling passions in this farcical comedy of ill-manners. Through an escapade of mistaken identities and carnal encounters, one motto holds fast: “He whose lust lasts, lasts longest.”

Multi-award-winning playwright Alan Bennett is also a screenwriter, actor and author. His other works for the stage include The History Boys, The Habit of Art, The Lady in the Van, Talking Heads, The Madness of George III, Kafka’s Dick, Enjoy & The Old Country.

As a director, Patrick Marber’s work includes Travesties (Menier Chocolate Factory, Apollo Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre) & Leopoldstadt (Wyndham’s Theatre).

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Tell Me More

The Wicksteed family in Habeas Corpus live by one motto: “He whose lust lasts, lasts longest.” But how much lust can one person feasibly have without causing big problems? Make sure you’re at the Wicksteeds’ house in Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus, which is being revived at Menier Chocolate Factory. Book Habeas Corpus tickets on TodayTix.

Set in 1960s Hove, Habeas Corpus follows the Wicksteeds as family and friends arrive on the doorstep. Mr Wicksteed is the head of the house, living with his wife Muriel. But Mr Wicksteed has a wandering eye that can’t be tamed. His eye isn’t helped when spinster friend Connie longs to be alluring, vicar Canon Throbbing wants to give up his celibacy, and Sir Percy Shorter wants Muriel for his own.

Sexual passion can’t be denied in Habeas Corpus, especially when they’re explored. But with Mrs Swabb, the Wicksteeds’ cleaner narrating the events, her snarky carnal commentary cuts through the antics like a sharp knife.

Habeas Corpus is one of Alan Bennett’s earliest comedies, which is being revived for the first time in 25 years. The comedy play’s title is deep rooted in a law term though. The phrase “Habeas Corpus” is a two-word Latin term used in law by someone applying for another person’s lawful, free release into society. While the behaviour in Habeas Corpus may be more questionable than its legal origin, sounds of laughter are bound to erupt from the Menier Chocolate Factory.

What to Watch For

  • British playwright Alan Bennett’s award-winning works include The Madness of George III and The History Boys. Two of his works have recently been revived at the Bridge Theatre: a Talking Heads summer series of plays in 2020 and Allejuah! in 2018.
  • If somebody were to translate “Habeas Corpus” directly from Latin, it means “let someone have the body.”
  • The Habeas Corpus play is Alan Bennett’s third full-length play to open in the West End. Habeas Corpus London performances began in 1973 at the Lyric Theatre, starring Alec Guinness.
  • Sam Mendes’ production of Habeas Corpus at the Donmar Warehouse in 1996 starred Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton.
  • Patrick Marber directs the British farce, returning to comedy plays after directing Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt and Travesties.
Run time

2 hours 30 minutes including interval

Start date

December 2nd, 2021

End date

February 26th, 2022

Genre

Play

Venue

Menier Chocolate Factory

Tickets from £47.50
Prices you'll brag about

We're your one-stop shop for everything theatre. We work with theatre partners from around the world to bring you unbeatable prices for must-see shows.

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