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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent play worth doing well., 27 July 2004
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I truly enjoyed this play and again am wondering why it is not put on more often. Granted, it has a specific political objective, due to its timely plot and circumstancial event. Yet, as a performer, I find the quality of writing to be extremely wonderful. Interestingly, I also discovered that Fo's viewpoint on comedic and political theatre to be very similar to my own:
(It) grabs at the heart and guts, but attempts to get there by a violent moment of laughter. Because laughter does not remain at the bottom of the mind, leaving sediment which cannot be wiped off. Because laughter helps avoid one of the worst dangers, which is catharsis. (5)
Fo wanted the reverse of catharsis, the emotional release, and it is very apparent in Accidental Death of an Anarchist. He seeks to provoke, debate, to arouse feelings and to challenge ideas while inviting his audience to consider new points of view. I respect this form of theatre, for it is the hardest to write, collaborate, and present clearly to an already cynical audience in this day and age. By using an absurdist/satirical/farcial approach towards the issues of power, its abuse, and political stations, he creates sense out of nonsensical characters and situations. The maniac, a harliquien like character, leads the members of a police station somewhere in a city, in this case we assume New York or London, through a dizzying investigation around the questionable death of an anarchist from years before. Mysteriously, the anarchist had "thrown" himself from a four story window during the course of police investigation. We, the audience suspect foul play for the cause, and in effect we see the maniac give nothing but insane play to the accused. He is quick witted and incredibly dynamic with language and vast information. The maniac flaunts with their pride and guilt, causing mass confusion. The audience cannot help but love his crazy ways. In true satiric fasion, just and darkly comedic rewards are served to all characters by the end. The audience is left wondering how these events effect them. The ever present window in the scene is the only realistic element that the audience must contend with. It reminds them of the reality of the crime, how it really took place, and yet they are forced to laugh at it and find disgust in that humor. It is this form of satire that provokes thoughts and action towards change, which is what Fo wanted. It is this subtle stealthiness of dark humor that creates the desired effect of political theatre: change, perhaps for the better, or in this case, for the playwrights cause.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anarchists are often very eccentric, he may well have been wearing galloshes, 17 Aug 2012
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Although I preferred "We Can't Pay, we Won't Pay" this was great late seventies political theatre. Saw two versions of it. One in London, brilliant and a mediocre version in Auckland, New Zealand. Anarchist to the core, it was a Gatling gun of absurd dialogue, high octane slap-stick farce and a serious, underlying political message. At the heart of the play is the unexplained death of a railway worker helping Italian police "with their enquiries". Set in Italy, at a time of Red Brigade and a more defined political landscape. We thought it could never happen here (England). Enter stage left one Margaret Thatcher. Oh dear. As a play, it is better seen than read and I pick, more relevant in Italian than English. But a modern classic? It certainly is. Now, I am sure there was a man with a parrot on his shoulder somewhere in the production I saw.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure genius, 16 Feb 2008
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Comic mayhem, with the protagonist's point reasoned to pure genius. The hero of this play runs verbal circles around everyone in his path.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great play, 22 Nov 2009
By 
Martin Phillips "head_ed" (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I first saw this play 20-some years ago as a drama student. It is still as funny & subversive in the noughties as it was in the eighties!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not bad., 20 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Had to order this for a college project, didn't really enjoy the play as it's not my cup of tea but hey, least I got a grade. Looking into Fo he's a good writer and the seller service was great, arrived quickly and un damaged.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lovely, 22 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
does the job, great condition too! would buy again, great money for a great product!!!!! he ye he ye ye
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent drama, 24 Dec 2007
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I enjoyed reading this book as the sense of comedy was innovative as well as cunning. Being as short a play as it is, i would recommend it for a day's quick read. However, it is quite difficult to fully understand the book if your have not been thoroughly acquainted with the political status of the play at the time it was written. I would strongly reccomend this book to every age group, however the more experienced readers would benefit more from it.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious satire, 23 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Fo's play is comic satire at its best, the material on which the play is based may not have the same impact as in Italy or as in the 70s but one can imagine a suitable adaptation to a more personal topic to the British audience.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Itallian Anarchy to British sense of humour brilliantly, 30 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Methuen Modern Plays) (Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Although not Fo's original concept, this has been adapted to appeal to the weird British sense of humour in a hillarious farcical scenario! We've all been victims of the ludicrous Judicial System from time to time and 'let we in the official capacity turn the evidence to suit ourselves' is all too apparent, bordering on the lines of desperation!, even down to whitewashing the journalist who is trying to get to the long awaited truth of the matter. Thank goodness for the 'Maniac' who puts the whole thing into perspective - eventually - albeit in his own inimitable way!
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