Reviews:

'Accidental Death of an Anarchist': The 'maniac' of this Old Country farce outwits everyone
By Peter Filichia
The Star Ledger
The second act of “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” begins at the precise moment where the first act ended. So why did noted Italian playwright Dario Fo bother to include an intermission? Probably to be merciful to the actor who’d have to play the character that he dubbed “Maniac.” The performer is on stage for all but a few quick minutes in this two-hour absurdist farce — and must play four roles. Read more.

 

Shakespeare Theater's 'Accidental Death' overflows with laughs
By C.W. Walker
The Daily Record
If “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” doesn’t sound much like the title of a wild, off-the-wall, laugh-a-minute comedy, trust me: it is.

Now onstage at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, it’s the best-known play of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Italian political farces, Dario Fo. Admittedly, Fo isn’t that familiar to those in the U.S., but his work, which seems to spark controversy whenever and wherever it’s been performed, has been adapted for audiences all over the world. Read more.

 

Accidental” Has Great Purpose
By Sherri Rase
Q On Stage
There are some who say there are no such things as accidents, and Dario Fo might agree.  As a Nobel Laureate in Literature, his plays have been thought provoking since the beginning of his career.  Originally staged more than 40 years ago in Varese, Italy, Fo’s “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” currently being given by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ), continues to ruffle the feathers of authority even to the present day and has toured his home country in performances by Colletivo Teatrale La Comune.  The audiences there alone, among those performances, number more than one million strong. Read more.

 

Dario Fo's Anarchist: Marxist Agitprop at its Best
By Bob Rendell
Talkin'Broadway.com
Very few of the pro-Communist, anti-American plays of the Vietnam War area that were particularly popular among young people were sufficiently artful or insightful to be successfully produced beyond the era that inspired them. A decided exception is Italian Marxist playwright Dario Fo's brilliant 1970 satiric farce, Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Read more.

 

STAGE REVIEW: 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' Shakespeare Theatre in Madison offer 'The funniest show of the season ... it would be criminal to miss it.'
By Bob Brown
The Princeton Packet
Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo is known for his biting satirical plays, written and performed in the time- honored style of the commedia dell’arte. His play, “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” now at the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison through Aug. 28, is riotously funny and completely irreverent. Nothing is sacred, not even the sacred.

    The title refers to an actual incident of Dec. 15, 1969, when Giuseppe Pinelli, a 41-year-old railway worker and anarchist, fell (or was pushed) to his death from a fourth- floor window in a Milan police station. Read more.

 

COMIC MADNESS
By Robert L. Daniels
Theatre News Online
At mid-summer, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is offering a rare look at a giddy Italian farce that boasts a hearty manic thrust. Accidental Death of an Anarchist, by Italian Noble Laureate playwright Dario Fo, is a freewheeling satire of an accidental death, deemed a suicide by Milan police. The broadly satirized interrogation and subsequent suicide was apparently based on actual events that took place after a suspected bomber leaped from the fourth floor window of a Italian police station.

Not so funny, you might say, yet Fo has crafted the events into a madcap spree that borders the savory frolic of a Marx Brothers comedy. The pivotal thrust of comic madness is delivered by Kevin Isola, who impersonates a priest and a high-court judge with a broadly and keenly defined loopy edge. As a masquerading legal mind he attempts to interrogate the police superintendent, a police inspector and an attending constable. At one point Isola, in a brilliant exhaustive turn, dons a masquerade with one leg, a prosthetic hand and a patch over his eye in a disguise that would challenge the likes of Inspector Closseau.. Read more.

 

'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' Will Have You Dying of Laughter
By Stefanie Sears
Patch.com
Blame "The Maniac" for the loads of laughter coming from the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre over the next couple of weeks. "Accidental Death of an Anarchist,written by Dario Fo and directed by Paul Mullins, is now playing until Aug. 28 and causing nonstop hearty laughter among its audience members. The farce play filled with energetic slapstick humor, originally written in Italian, takes place in 1970 in a Central Police Headquarters in Milan, Italy.

The story surrounds a man only known as “The Maniac,” played by Kevin Isola, who has recently been arrested for the umpteenth time for pretending to be all different types of aliases, such as a psychiatrist, lecturer and bishop to name a few, and Inspector Bertozzo, played by Philip Goodwin, diagnoses him with “performance mania.” Read more.

 

Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist at The Shakespeare Theatre Of N J
By Rick Busciglio
Examiner.com
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey premiered this Saturday night a zany political farce, with one of the funniest and best second acts of the year. The play, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, is by the Italian playwright, and Nobel Prize for Literature winner (1997), Dario Fo. The translation from the original Italian script is by Ed Emery.

When Fo won the Nobel Prize, the Committee called him “a writer who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.” In Accidental Death of an Anarchist Fo masterfully uses comedy, largely of the slapstick variety, to make important social and political statements about his native Italy. Read more.

Review: Jokes on a Scandal
By Andrew Silow-Carroll
New Jersey Jewish News

The opening night audience ate up Kevin Isola’s manic performance as the Maniac, the certifiably insane jester who prods a bumbling police force into admitting its culpability in the suspect’s “suicide.” A strong ensemble cast keeps the energy high and the laughs coming, although Fo’s canny script keeps reminding you that the stakes are deadly serious. And it ends on a darkly cynical note, as the Maniac suggests that exposing scandal is a mere ritual of Western democracy, an “antidote” to real political consciousness. Read More.

 


Previews:

'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' preview: Did he jump or was he pushed?
By Peter Filichia
The Star-Ledger
A desk is a comfortable place for Philip Goodwin. "Strange as it may sound,” he says, “I love desks.” However, Goodwin most prefers them when he’s onstage. On Wednesday, he’ll start shuffling papers as Inspector Bertozzo in Dario Fo’s political comedy, “Accidental Death of an Anarchist.” It plays throughout August at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison.

Fo’s play was spurred by a real-life incident in 1969. A railway worker was suspected of bombing a bank and was arrested. On his fourth day in custody, he jumped out a window to his death. Read more.

 

'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' preview: Did he jump or was he pushed?
By Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen
The Daily Record
It all comes down to the storytelling, says Paul Mullins, who is directing “The Accidental Death of an Anarchist” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opening on Saturday (Aug. 6).

As both a director and an actor associated with the troupe for 20 years, Mullins always starts with the words on the page.

“All the way back through history, great storytellers are able to get listeners to hang on their every word, to experience what others are living through,” he says. “I do think part of the director’s job is to tell a story in the way the playwright wanted it communicated. Of course, we make decisions on ways we tell that story.” Read more.

 

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey stages 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist'
By Ted Otten
Times of Trenton
Italian playwright Dario Fo, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, once said, “Scandals are the fertilizer of Western democracy.”

That line might help in understanding his disquieting, controversial and unique farce “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” as translated by Ed Emery, opening officially tomorrow night at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Read more.

 

So, a Guy Walks Out of a Window ...
By Anthony Stoeckert
patch.com
Kevin Isola wasn’t familiar with “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” when he was offered a part in the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s production of Dario Fo’s play. But all he needed to accept an offer to star in the play was his character’s name.

“When Bonnie [Monte, the Shakespeare Theatre’s artistic director] very graciously offered the role to me, she said the character I would be playing is called The Maniac, and I said yes without reading the script,” Isola said. “I figured, ‘That’s got to be good.’” Read more.