Habeas Corpus

October 2017

The production took place at Blackfriars Theatre Boston from Wednesday 18 October to Saturday 21 October inclusive. It was directed by Jo Warrick.


Mismanaged lust - mistaken identity - dropped trousers...'Habeas Corpus' has all the ingredients of a classic farce, spiced with the warmth and humanity of Alan Bennett's razor-sharp wit. It originally starred Alec Guinness, Phyllida Law and Andrew Sachs. 

Cast: 
Arthur Wicksteed, a General Practitioner - Jon Molson
Muriel Wicksteed, his wife - Sheila Millington
Dennis Wicksteed, their son - Sam Simpson 
Constance Wicksteed, the doctor's sister - Rachel Rowett
Mrs Swabb, a cleaning lady - Glyn Ruskin
Canon Throbbing, a celibate - Kei Bailey
Lady Rumpers, a white settler - Lizzie Fenton
Felicity Rumpers, her daughter - Helen Graves
Mr Shanks, a sales representative - Daniel Poulson
Sir Percy Shorter, a leading light in the medical profession - Trevor Fenton
Mr Purdue, a sick man - Murray Webb

Crew: 
Director - Jo Warrick
Stage Manager - Megan Rodgers
Set Design - Julian Warrick 
Set Construction - Paul Gibson, John Tilson and members of Playgoers
Lighting - Paul Gibson
Sound Design - Melissa Poulson
Sound - Paul Gibson
Photography - Neil Watson
Programme - Lucy Taylor
Props/Costume - Jo Warrick & Lucy Taylor
Raffle - Marilyn Cobb

The production supported Coppafeel and raised £375 for the charity with programme sales and the raffle proceeds.

Thanks to: the Horncastle Theatre Company for their help with backing tracks, volunteers at Blackfriars Arts Centre, Trevor Howsam Ltd and West End Furnishings.

Review by Peter Breach, NODA

 

Written by Alan Bennett, this play was first performed in May 1973 and tells of the “goings-on” in the Wicksteed household located in Hove, revealing the libidinal thoughts and activities of these so called members of permissive society!

The main characters are introduced at the beginning of the play by Mrs. Swabb – the cleaning lady ( played by Glyn Ruskin), who stresses that because of her lowly station in life she knows all about these people, even down to the days on which they change their underwear. Arthur Wicksteed - a General Practitioner (played by Jon Molson) is a long serving G.P. who has an eye for the ladies and though lacking ambition, there is plenty of lust left in him; his wife, Muriel (played by Sheila Millington) is a more assertive character and though her husband is no longer sexually interested in her, she needs to make up for lost time. Dennis Wicksteed - their son (played by Sam Simpson) is a wimpish hypochondriac, frustrated because he lacks a girlfriend. Constance Wicksteed, Arthur’s sister (played by Rachel Rowett) is a flat chested woman who so wants to acquire a prominent bust. Cannon Throbbing – Constance’s intended suitor (played by Kei Bailey) is desperate to give up his celibate state by marrying her. Lady Rumpers (played by Liz Fenton) is a returning expatriate so obviously of the upper class who fears her daughter Felicity Rumpers (played by Helen Graves) is at risk of losing her virginity with all these men about. Mr Shanks – played by Dan Poulson is the   hapless “falsie-fitter” who calls to check Miss Constance is happy with the product he has supplied only to mistakenly assume Muriel is the one wearing it. Sir Percy Shorter – a leading light in the medical profession (played by Trevor Fenton) seeks revenge against Arthur Wicksteed for winning Muriel’s heart all those years ago in marriage. Mr. Purdue – (played by Murray Webb) is a suicidal patient who turns up at Dr Wicksteed’s surgery and attempts to end his life just to add to the mayhem.

This play has been described as a wonderful blend of satire, farce, melodrama and slapstick to which a good pace is essential and every effort was made by the cast and crew to provide this. Well done!