Catherine Russell plays Muriel Wicksteed in Menier Chocolate Factory‘s production of Alan Bennett’s Habeas Corpus.
Patrick Marber’s production opens on 13 December, with previews from 3 December, running until 27 February 2022.
You’re appearing in Habeas Corpus at The Menier Chocolate Factory, what can you tell us about the play?
It’s extremely funny and really quite bonkers. It will take the audience on a whirlwind of delightful silliness, although it does have a dark underbelly which I find most pleasing.
Is Habeas Corpus what you would describe as a ‘typical’ Alan Bennett play, or does it hold some surprises?
I’m not sure what a “typical” Bennett play is. But this is a fast and furious farce. With some deliciously surreal moments.
Tell us a little about your character, what do you enjoy most about Muriel Wicksteed?
I play Muriel Wicksteed, an upwardly aspiring, sexually forgotten wife of a doctor from Hove. She’s rather sad and lonely at the beginning of the play but a stranger inadvertently uncovers her hidden depths.
With such a riotous comedy in store, how have you all been holding it together in rehearsals?
We haven’t. But best to get the hooting over and done with in the rehearsal room as playing a comedy is a very serious business once it hits the stage.
How does it feel to be working at The Menier Chocolate Factory?
I’ve always admired the work produced here so I am immensely pleased and proud to be joining The Factory family. (Having the beautiful Borough Market on the doorstep doesn’t hurt…)
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to see Habeas Corpus?
Don’t think – do! Especially if you feel in the need for a belly laugh or ten. And after these last two years I think that’s probably all of us.