Anyone attending Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus looking for his signature humanity was in for a shock, as the broadest of farces barged its way onto the stage.
Instead, with misanthropic glee and brutal nihilism, Bennett explores the absurdity of the human condition.
Habeas Corpus is over 40 years old, and with dodgy sexual politics and queasy subplots, shows its age.
All credit to Open Space for their rollicking version of what could be an uncomfortable ride. Peter Sowerbutts and Yves Green reprise their dysfunctional relationship from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, commanding centre stage with convincing and funny performances.
Tim Hall, as the pleading and whining man-child Canon Throbbing, was also very strong, while Pat Parris held the play together as Greek chorus stand-in, Mrs Swabb.
The real star has to be director David Green, who marshalled his troops expertly, choreographing at a cracking pace. Suffusing the play with an energy it sorely needed, he was rewarded with raucous laughs throughout.