Monday, August 6, 2018

ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST


Written by Dario Fo
Directed by Clare Moss
Limbo Theatre Co. & Honest Puck
CADA Studios Theatre, Fyshwick to 4 August.

Reviewed by Len Power 1 August 2018

Along with Canberra Sinfonia and Mockingbird Theatre, Limbo Theatre Co. is the third new creative arts group to appear in Canberra within a month.  Formed by graduates of the Canberra Academy of Dramatic Art, Limbo aims to bridge the gap between study and industry.

Their choice of Dario Fo’s 1970 Italian play, ‘Accidental Death Of An Anarchist’, was a good showcase for the group of six actors to show what they can do.  Fo’s play is based on a true event in Milan in 1969 where an arrested protester died suspiciously while in custody at a police station.  While it was no laughing matter, Dario Fo uses farce, vaudeville and a whole range of theatrical elements to deliver a pungent political message about truth and reality.

The frenetic action of this play with its physical and verbal comedy played at breakneck speed has been carefully controlled by director, Clare Moss, and she has obtained fine performances from her company of six actors.

Damon Baudin and Hayden Splitt
In the marathon role of the Maniac, Hayden Splitt gives an extraordinarily winning performance.  He plays at a furiously manic pace with clear diction and excellent verbal comic timing throughout and skilfully handles the physical demands of the role as well.

Left to Right: Damon Baudin, Nick Steain, Anneke van der Velde and Izaac Beach
Nick Steain, Izaac Beach and Damon Baudin give funny and sharply etched characterisations as the increasingly frustrated and confused police officers and Anneka van der Velde shows fine skills in physical comedy as the Constables.  Imogene Irvine plays the unflappable journalist, Feletti, with a studied calmness in a nice contrast to the other characters.

This is a highly entertaining play directed and performed very well by all concerned.  The full house on opening night was in stitches laughing at the absurdities of the plot and the characters.  Still, Dario Fo’s message about the dangerous areas between truth and lies stays with you long after this play has ended.

Photos by the production.

This review was first published in the Canberra city news digital edition of 2 August 2018

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.

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