Mammaries and mortality loom large in Alan Bennett’s blissfully funny 1973 farce, Habeus Corpus, which opens at the Masque Theatre, tomorrow Friday November 25.
The third of Bennett’s plays to be staged in his career, this script is incredibly funny and is considered to be his most popular.
Director Nigel Sweet describes it as the most complete script and vehicle for actors to give an evening’s comedy entertainment of great worth.
Like some saucy Magill seaside postcard as retouched by Magritte, the piece shows how a collection of stock types from Hove (randy GP, sex-starved wife, flat-chested spinster who longs to be stacked like the Cairngorms, and many more) find themselves propelled into the permissive society with the arrival of a false-breast fitter from Leatherhead. Identities are mistaken, the wrong knockers admiringly fondled, and libidos burst out of enforced hibernation.
This is not the first time that Nigel Sweet has tackled this fast-moving farce. In 1975 he played two parts in the play in alternate performances during a run at the Baxter Theatre. In 2016, he takes on directing the cast of 11 actors and bringing the comedy to life.
“We have been fortunate to have brought together an immensely enthusiastic company who I feel sure will give many, many people great entertainment and a whole load of laughs,” he said.
The cast is full to bursting with familiar and well-loved names that Masque audiences will easily recognise. More often seen directing these days, Jenny Brandt, Lynn Moss and Barrie Howard all make a return to the stage. Other well-known names include Leslie Boxall, David Wilke, Hannah Claassens, Rosemary Wilke and Mark Wilkes. The latter was last seen at the Masque earlier this year in Fallen Angels.
This production is presented by Constantiaberg Theatre Players, who brought The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) to the stage in February this year.
Habeas Corpus runs until Saturday December 3 – excluding Sunday to Wednesday.
Book through Masque Theatre Bookings on 021 788 1898 (weekdays from 9am to 4pm and Saturdays from 9am to noon). Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.