Review: Habeas Corpus, by Alan Bennett, Open Space Theatre Company, Seagull Theatre, Lowestoft, touring until May 21

Peter Sowerbutts as Dr Wicksteed and Tim Hall as Canon Throbbing in Habeas Corpus, by Alan Bennett

Peter Sowerbutts as Dr Wicksteed and Tim Hall as Canon Throbbing in Habeas Corpus, by Alan Bennett - Credit: Archant

Habeas Corpus - a legal term meaning ‘have the body’ - is a classic farce from the pen of master writer Alan Bennett with a dash of absurdism, clever and witty word plays and some social comment on the 1960s thrown in.

Norfolk/Suffolk touring ensemble Open Space bring the formula to life and laughs as the randy, aging doctor (Peter Sowerbutts in fine world-weary, cynical form) attempts to seduce an attractive young patient (Samantha McAtear) while keeping it from his frustrated wife (Yves Green), no slouch herself in the hanky-panky stakes.

There is a stage full of absurdist characters - hypochondriac son (Jake Kubala), a pompous, sex obsessed rival doctor (Simon Evans), a flat-chested spinster (Eleanor Marshall) who buys false breasts and a salesman sent to test them (Bob Good).

A sex-mad vicar (Tim Hall); a stereotypical upper-class lady with a past (Annie McClarnon) a house cleaner as the chorus-commentator (Pat Parris) and a sad depressive (Alan Huckle) who is trying to hang himself, complete the splendid cast.

David Green directs excellent summer fun for the light evenings.


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Remaining performances are at the Fisher Theatre Bungay May 13, Garboldisham Village Hall May 14, Beccles Public Hall May 19, Wingfield Barns, May 20, The Cut, Halesworth May 21

David Porter

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