A U.K. Review in Exactly 250 Words: "Trial by Laughter" at the Watermill Theatre

Photo: Philip Tull

Photo: Philip Tull

Harriet Wilson

  • United Kingdom Contributing Critic

Trial by Laughter, playing at Newbury's Watermill Theatre, is a witty and enjoyable play – albeit less remarkable than some of the Watermill's previous productions. This play is entirely what you would expect from a comedy by creators Ian Hislop and Nick Newman (respectively editor and cartoonist for Private Eye). Trial by Laughter doesn't just indulge in satire, it relies on it.

Trial by Laughter is a fairly bulk-standard comedy. It's funny (a good start), and the humour in the production is well rounded and delivered superbly by a cast of eight. Joseph Prowen is particularly likeable in the role of William Hone, and Peter Losasso is a great Cruikshank. Eva Scott and Helena Antoniou play the production's very limited number of female characters excellently.

The staging of this production is simple but effective. The only aspect I found more distracting than entertaining was the use of voices which appeared to 'come from the audience' in the play's courtroom scenes.

There is definitely a balance to be struck when telling stories such as this. An audience needs to have enough information to enjoy the production's nuanced humour, without the show becoming bogged down in detail. A few moments in Trial by Laughter are detail-heavy, but overall it gets this balance about right.

 If you enjoy satire, you are sure to enjoy Trial by Laughter. The production probably won't blow you away, but it is good fun. Trial by Laughter is playing at the Watermill Theatre until the 27th October 2018.