Hancock’s Last Half Hour by Heathcote Williams

"Ladies and gentlemen, I shall now bid you all good day... None of you know what you're looking at. You wait 'til I'm dead, you'll see I was right!" So said Tony Hancock at the end of his 1961 film Rebel. That year was probably the peak of his career, summed up for many in the ‘Blood Donor’ episode of Hancock’s Half Hour. In October, he split from his script-writers, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, some of the finest British comedy writers.

Nothing really goes wrong with this production, but it is a play with no surprises and a well-known ending.

The next seven years were filled with increasing self-doubt, destructive introspection and dependence on vodka. He abandoned friends who had contributed to his success and moved to Australia. Mixed reviews for his new work there contributed to his depressive state and ultimate suicide in 1968 at the age of 44.

We enter Hancock’s disheveled bedroom to find him curled up in bed. As he rises, his drab grey clothes blend perfectly with general gloom. There’s vodka everywhere and a bottle of pills sits ominously on the chest of drawers. Once awake and after a few swigs he begins a series of pessimistic reflections. From time to time he picks up a book of memories, philosophy or trivia, or the the odd newspaper cutting. These act as stimuli for his laments over events and tirades against people. From Sid James to Sigmund Freud, no one is exempt.

Pip Utton successfully conveys the bitterness, anger and sadness that Hancock must have felt in those final moments, but in giving vent to his emotions, the words are sometimes lost in soulful mumblings or raucous rants. There are attempts at humour to lighten the heavy burden, but these lines rarely raise more than a smile or chuckle. Without Hancock’s distinctive voice and self-deprecating presentation they just don’t seem that funny.

After reading the poor reviews of his final performances, he pens a note to his mother saying, "Things seem to have gone wrong just too many times." Nothing really goes wrong with this production, but it is a play with no surprises and a well-known ending. It will mainly appeal to those who look back with nostalgia on the works of a comedian who, without realising, did actually get it right. As he said so many times, “Stone me. What a life!”

Reviews by Richard Beck

Multiple Venues

Community Service

Drayton Arms Theatre


Liverpool Playhouse

My Beautifull Laundrette

Old Red Lion Pub

Horne's Descent

Westcliff High School For Boys

Les Misérables (School Edition)

Finborough Theatre



Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

‘I left the show with my eyes as moist as oysters. Brilliant’ (Mail on Sunday). Powerful and moving, the legendary comedian’s disintegration during his final hours in a hotel bedroom in Australia. Hancock’s career had made him the most famous comedian of his day, millions tuned in to listen to Hancock’s Half Hour both on the radio and TV. But like many clowns his private life was a disaster. Attempting to resurrect his fading career in Australia, Hancock finally cracks, writes a note to his mum and takes his own life.

Most Popular See More

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets