Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Morte accidentale di un anarchico) is the best known play by Dario Fo, who died on 13 October 2016. If you know the play, you will be enchanted by this production in the intimate atmosphere of the Progress Theatre.
If you do not know the play, then this is an excellent, articulate, socialist entertainment from a working class viewpoint. In either case the dilemma played out in the final moments of the drama will captivate you.
The play was first staged by Dario Fo and theatre group Collettivo Teatrale La Comune on 5 December 1970 in Varese, Italy. Dario Fo was the recipient of the Nobel prize in literature in 1997.
The director’s notes to the Progress Theatre’s production explain that it was originally planned as a twentieth anniversary celebration of this event, but now it is a remembrance of his life.
The ‘anarchist’ of the title is Giuseppe Pinelli, who fell, or was thrown, to his death from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. Pinelli was accused of bombing the National Agrarian Bank (the Piazza Fontana bombing) that killed around 20 people and injured more. That same afternoon, three more bombs were detonated in Rome and Milan.
The bombing was thought to have been the work of a neo-fascist group Ordine Nuovo whose aim was to prevent Italy falling into the hands of the left wing, in the form of an elected government led by the Communist Party, by duping the public into believing the bombings were part of a communist insurgency.
The events of the play, however, are fictional. They take place in a third storey room in the central police headquarters in Milan. The main character ‘the Maniac’ sets out to foil the police inspectors and escape punishment.
The drama opens with newsreel from 1969 which sets the scene. The production maintains an absurd and farcical commentary on events. Particularly enjoyable scenes are the gleeful rummaging through the constable’s filing cabinet by the ‘the Maniac’ (John Gonzalez), and the shockingly believable attempt at throwing himself out of the window by Inspector Pissani (Peter Cook).
The ensemble, staging and costumes worked well together to transport us back to the era. The Maniac, in his various guises, is on stage for almost the whole length of the production and the Constable(s) (Daniel Brown) has the most slapstick and physical of the roles.
You will not want to miss this notorious play; tickets are already selling well.
The play has some minor strong language.
Cast (in order of appearance) :
Inspector Bertozzo – Martin Walker,
Constable – Daniel Brown,
The Maniac – John Gonzalez,
Inspector Pissani – Peter Cook,
Superintendent – Mikhail Franklin,
Maria Feletti – Débora Rochfort.
The play runs at:
Nearest bus stop 21/21a at Vicarage Road.
Monday 20 February to Saturday 25 February 2017, all performances start at 7.45pm.
Tickets are available online from Ticketsource (booking fees apply) or call 0333 666 3366 (telephone sales will cost an additional £1.50). Adults tickets cost £12 and concession tickets cost £10.