John Mortimer’s hilarious tale of an unsuccessful barrister and an unsuccessful criminal, The Dock Brief, will receive a revival at the Cockpit Theatre later this spring. Time to get booking!
The bittersweet comedy runs at the Lisson Grove venue from 17 to 28 March 2020.
In a cell beneath the Old Bailey, the two men meet. One is Wilfred Morgenhall, the unmarried barrister who never gets any cases and is overjoyed to have won this dock brief, the defence of an accused individual with no lawyer (at public expense). The other is his client Herbert Fowle, an insignificant man who just wants to plead guilty to murdering his wife and get it all over.
Flashbacks show that the wife was impossible to live with and Fowle, who avoided her as much as possible, hatched a plot to get rid of her by taking in a male lodger. The lodger found her amusing and attractive, until one day he went too far and Mrs Fowle threw him out of the house. In despair at his plot having failed, Fowle killed her. As Morgenhall role plays various defences, he raises Fowle’s will to fight…
John Mortimer wrote The Dock Brief in 1957. The early play was one of his first pieces written for radio. While he had previously written an adaptation of his novel Like Men Betrayed, it was his first original play to be broadcast. It was subsequently screened, with a cast led by Michael Hordern, and then presented on stage at the Lyric Hammersmith in 1958 as a double bill with What Shall We Tell Caroline? In the 1960s, it was adapted for the big screen, with Peter Sellers playing the barrister and Richard Attenborough the murderer.
Barrister, dramatist and author John Mortimer may be best remembered at the creator of barrister Horace Rumpole, who originally appeared as part of the BBC’s Play For Today in 1975, but went on to feature in TV series Rumpole of the Bailey and in a series of novels written by Mortimer.
At the Cockpit Theatre, The Dock Brief is directed by veteran director, producer and actor David Tudor, formerly Artistic Director of The Kings Theatre, Southsea. The experienced theatrical practitioner has previously directed shows in London at the Arts Theatre and produced productions at the Vaudeville Theatre, the Criterion Theatre, the Apollo Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre.
Tudor directs Matthew Vernon as barrister Wilfred Morgenhall and Kingsley Glover as defendant Herbert Fowle. Vernon has worked extensively with The Olympia Players, appearing in productions including Twelfth Night and Pride and Prejudice, while Glover previously worked with Tudor on productions of 15 Street and Twelfth Night.
The Dock Brief runs at The Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH from 17 to 28 March 2020, with performances Tuesdays to Saturdays at 9pm, matinees Fridays 4pm. Tickets are priced from £12. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!!