Thurs 1st December - Sat 3rd December & Thurs 8th December - Sat 10th December 1977
Directed by Peter Corrigan
Each one of us is walking the world because someone somewhere happened to bring their body and lay it against another body. Everyone.
Habeas Corpus was first performed at the Lyric Theatre in London on 10 May 1973, with Alec Guinness and Margaret Courtenay in the lead roles. Bennett's first play, written in 1973, it is a comedy set in Brighton in the 1960s where the lust and longing of the permissive society has well and truly taken hold of the apparently respectable Wicksteed family.
The aging Dr. Arthur Wicksteed pursues his nubile patient, Felicity Rumpers. Wicksteed's wife Muriel lusts after the charming head of the BMA, Sir Percy Shorter. Shorter as well as being Wicksteed's old rival, turns out to be Felicity's father - the result of an under-the-table liaison during an air-raid with Lady Rumpers, her mother. Meanwhile, Wicksteed's spinster-sister Connie, ashamed of her flat-chestedness, has schemes of her own. Like some saucy Magill seaside postcard as retouched by Magritte, or an end-of-the-pier romp reorganised by Orton, the piece shows how a collection of stock types from Hove 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 play was the first of the Bench Theatre plays to be staged at the Bench Theatre's new home; Havant Arts Centre at The Old Town Hall, East Street, Havant (a building which would later be known as The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre). It was also the first play to officially assign the name of Bench Theatre to the company of players. Prior to this play, the group of actors had been known as 'Theatre Union at the Bench Theatre' (but the name was often shortened informally by critics and even the members themselves to 'Bench Theatre' to refer to the actors, the company AND the building). The new company name of Bench Theatre was adopted in to all the promotional literature after the company moved from the old Bench Theatre in West Street, Havant which had been their home for nearly 7 years.
Bench Theatre staged this play again in 1994 at Havant Arts Centre as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations held that year.
|Arthur Wicksteed||Ian Nelson|
|Muriel Wicksteed||Eve Moore|
|Dennis Wicksteed||Tim Morris|
|Constance Wicksteed||Robbie Cattermole|
|Mrs Swabb||Jacquie Penrose|
|Canon Throbbing||Brian Montefiore|
|Lady Rumpers||Jen Jones|
|Felicity Rumpers||Caryl Hayter|
|Mr Shanks||Tony Czapp|
|Sir Percy Shorter||Derek Cusdin|
|Mr Purdue||Brian Sweatman|
|Assistant Director||Anne Brodrick|
|Stage Manager||Trevor Hare|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Mary Lowes|
|Front of House||Ingrid Corrigan|
|Stage Crew||Peter Duncan |
Medical bosses are drawing up rules to deal with doctors who fall in love with patients. The new guidelines are expected to be published before the end of the year. The present strict rules regarding doctors who have sex with a patient are expected to be broadened.
This is because only a tiny number of doctors actually become sexually involved with patients and attitudes towards sex are changing generally. A report in the British Journal of Medical Ethics today says that only one sex-with-a-patient case was heard by the General Medical Council in the years 1974 and 1975. Only fourteen such cases were heard in the five years from 1970 to 1975, The report, by Sir Denis Hill of the London Institute of psychiatry, adds: "The pursuit of sexual gratification is now regarded by many, including many in the medical profession, as a very desirable and healthy activity. But Sir Denis warns that, without the confidence of the public, "the medical profession knows that its status will be destroyed."
Theatre-lovers who enjoy a good comedy ought not to miss Alan Bennett's farce 'Habeas Corpus' being staged by Havant Bench Theatre Company. The first showing of the play last night at Havant Arts Centre attracted a large audience which saw a magnificent performance by all the players.
Ian Nelson was particularly effective as Arthur Wicksteed, a doctor who is conscious about growing old and spends his life chasing after young female patients. His victim in this case is Carly Hayter, who plays Felicity Rumpers, a girl who is looking for a husband because she is pregnant. She finds the doctors son Dennis the most suitable person. Tim Morris plays this part well, as a boy who is obsessed with illness. For those who are broad-minded there are plenty of 'naughty bits' in the play and Tony Czapp, who plays Mr Shanks, spends most of his time on the stage looking for his trousers. Mrs Swabb, the maid, played by Jacquie Penrose, knows exactly who is chasing whom and in a very witty way, keeps the audience informed throughout.
Eve Moore as the doctor's wife, Brian Montefiore as the vicar, Jen Jones as Lady Rumpers, Derek Cusdin as Sir Percy Shorter and Brian Sweatman as Mr Purdue complete the cast. The Production was by Peter Corrigan.
The News, 2nd December 1977