Trial By Laughter.

Trial By Laughter

By Ian Hislop and Nick Newman

Festival TheatreTicketsPrice: from £10



Sparky historical comedy. Irritatingly good

Daily Mail

A David-v-Goliath celebration of dissent

Daily Telegraph

Another winner for Hislop and Newman. A real crowd pleaser


I ask you, is laughter treason? Surely not!

Following the sold-out run of The Wipers Times at Chichester last year, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter. 

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 libidinous 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. 

Writer and broadcaster Ian Hislop has been editor of Private Eye since 1986; he has appeared frequently on Question Time and since 1990 has been team captain on BBC's award-winning Have I Got News For You. Nick Newman is an award-winning cartoonist and writer; he has worked on Private Eye since 1981 and has been pocket cartoonist for The Sunday Times since 1989.

Together Ian and Nick's writing includes five years on Spitting Image, Harry Enfield and Chums, and My Dad's the Prime Minister, as well as the film and play A Bunch of Amateurs. They have written many comedy series for Radio 4, and their film The Wipers Times was nominated for a BAFTA. In 2016 their play The Wipers Times toured and played in the West End to sell-out audiences. 

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Cast & Creatives


  • Helena Antoniou

    Lady Hertford
  • Philippe Edwards

  • Jeremy Lloyd

    Prince Regent
  • Peter Losasso

  • Nicholas Murchie

    Justice Abbott/ Duke of York
  • Joseph Prowen

  • Eva Scott

    Lady Conyngham/Sarah

Creative Team

Ian Hislop


Nick Newman


Caroline Leslie



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Running Time
2 hours and 15 minutes including the interval