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Accidental Death of an Anarchist
by Dario Fo

Part of the publicity image for Accidental Death of an Anarchist

7 March 2008
The Double Top Club, Overstone Road, Northampton
8 March 2008
Earls Barton Hall
14 March 2008
The Racehorse Pub, Abington Square, Northampton
16 March 2008
Weston Favell Parish Hall

Cast & Crew

Maniac Richard Jordan
Bertozzo Joe Brown
Pissani Stuart Harris
Constable Kevin Pinks
Superintendent Suzanne Richards
Feletti Alex Rex

Director Gemma Knight
Stage Manager Louise Frohock
Crew Jennie Reynolds, Debbie Samwell
Poster & programme design Tamsyn Payne
Photography Joe Brown

Production No. 357

More images from Accidental Death of an Anarchist


Gemma Knight, director

The quick witted dialogue of Dario Fo’s Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist keeps both the audience and the dim-witted police officers he is determined to foil on the edge of their seats.

The play was based on a real life event where an anarchist railway worker ‘fell’ to his death from a police headquarters window and follows the events after when the maniac, detained otherwise, decides to pose as the first councillor to the High Court and hold a sham enquiry.

Madness ensues with characters arguing, singing in four part harmony and throwing themselves around the stage as they are puppeteered towards the play’s hilariously dramatic climax. 

The cast of Accidental Death include Masque stalwart Richard Jordan who fears himself typecast as the lunatic Maniac, Suzanne Richards who has stepped into the breach as the Superintendent charged with controlling fighting Inspectors Stuart Harris and Joe Brown (making his debut!) and the two Constables both played by Kevin Pink - it will make sense! Playing the tenacious young journalist is Alex Rex who is on secondment from the Youth Theatre.

All of the cast are relishing the challenging task of taking the first ever Masque production on tour in what heralds a new and exciting era of possibility for our company.  There are four venues in which to watch this highly entertaining piece, so for those that like their comedy with equal doses of slapstick and political savvy, we look forward to seeing you at one.

Alison Dunmore

Gemma Knight is to be congratulated on her courage in undertaking the direction of Masque’s first touring production, with all the difficulties that it entailed. Also for her choice of one of the funniest and most politically acute plays of the 1970s.

The night I saw the play it seemed to me that the company would have benefited from an extended rehearsal time in which to cope with the inevitable difficulties that attend touring and the special skills needed to handle farce; plus in this case, illness and a very late cast change.

Dario Fo, the Nobel prize-winning dramatist who wrote Accidental Death of an Anarchist, based it on the actual death of a Milan railway worker while in police hands. He described it as a “grotesque farce about a tragic farce”.

Fo, himself a skilled comic actor, wrote the play for his own company, all well versed in the difficult art of farce. He played the leading role - the manic lunatic - himself, varying the text at certain points to fit in with the political situation of the moment.

Richard Jordan’s performance as the maniac was a considerable achievement. His improvisations, to a degree licensed by the Fo text, were apt but must have made difficulties for the less experienced actors. Kevin Pink gave a firm performance as two policemen more used to following orders than thinking for themselves; and Alex Rex made a pleasingly crisp lady journalist.

I would like to thank all the company for letting me see this seldom-produced play.

Publicity image for Accidental Death of an Anarchist