Trial by Laughter | Theatre Royal Brighton


Trial by Laughter is a new play by Ian Hislop (famous for being a team captain on BBC’s Have I Got News For You since it started in 1990) and British cartoonist and comedy scriptwriter Nick Newman which started touring the UK in September 2018.

It tells the true story of bankrupt bookseller William Hone, when he stood trial 3 times over a period of 3 days for ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’ in 1817.

To be totally honest with you, I’m not really sure how I felt about the comedy, it was funny however not really my sense of humour . . .. it was political humour of which some just went over my head! I heard a few people in the audience saying they wished it was spoken in today’s English rather than the 1800’s type language but I think they were missing the point of the show! The historic language was what made it funny!

The cast was made up of 8 actors, in which those 8 actors played over 16 characters between them! I loved that aspect of the show; the actors are 1 character 1 minute then seconds late they come out as someone totally different!

Joseph Prowen did a fantastic job portraying the character of unlucky and penniless William Hone, alongside Peter Losasso who plays cartoonist George Cruikshank who helps Hone in court to provide defence to the judge!

I loved the characters Prince Regent (Jeremy Lloyd), and his 2 ladies, Lady Hertford (Helena Antoniou) and Lady Conyngham (Eva Scott) whenever they burst on stage there was laughs from all!

Other cast included Phillipe Edwards (Lord Sidmouth/Shepherd/Southall), Nicholas Murchie (Justine Abbott/Duke of York), and Dan Tetsell (Lord Ellenborough/William Hazlitt) .

I loved how simple the staging was, and how it transformed from a court room, to a pub, to a prison and also William Hone’s family home. So simple, yet effective! I heard a few comments from people re the costumes, and how they needed to be a little more polished, which I totally disagree with! We are not watching Shakespeare! We are watching a comedy here and I for one though the costumes and set was fantastic.

Jokes throughout the show, yet not continuous, a few innuendos but somewhat dragged out at times. I thought it could have been shorter but would recommend this as an easy watch for those political heads who like to laugh about historic political incompetence and corruption (sounds a bit like what todays politics is about, but that another story altogether!)

Trial by Laughter is at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday 24th November 2018. Shows Monday – Saturday at 7.45pm, and matinee shows Thursday & Saturday at 2.30pm. Click HERE to book your tickets now!

Trial by Laughter is touring the UK, so if you are unable to catch this in Brighton, then click HERE to see if its coming to your local area!

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