Trial by Laughter at the Devonshire Park Theatre - Remembering a forgotten hero of free speech

Trial by Laughter
Trial by Laughter

Following smash-hit success for The Wipers Times which played to packed houses in Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park Theatre this October, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s Trial by Laughter will play at the same venue, 5 – 9 March 2019.

Having received critical acclaim for The Wipers Times, the extraordinary story of the satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the Somme, Hislop and Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new courtroom drama 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 dictatorial government and the lustful 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.

Ian Hislop is perhaps best known as the editor of PrivateEye magazine and team captain on BBC quiz Have I Got News for You. Nick Newman is a comedy writer and also a satirical British cartoonist.