‘I ask you, is laughter treason? Surely not!’
Following critical acclaim for The Wipers Times, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman return to The Watermill with the premiere of a new play inspired by extraordinary real-life events.
William Hone, the forgotten hero of free speech, was a bookseller, publisher and satirist. In 1817, he stood trial for ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the debauched monarchy.
Along with his great ally, political cartoonist George Cruikshank, Hone sought vindication for his laughable offences and fought for freedom in one of the most remarkable legal cases of its time.
Directed by Caroline Leslie