Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist; The Muni, Colne

Borderline Theatre Company's hilarious show this week is the perfect vehicle for continuing discussions on today's uncertain political world of 'alternative facts' and bumbling authority.
The cast of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. (s)The cast of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. (s)
The cast of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. (s)

The group’s fun and zealous staging of Accidental Death of an Anarchist proves that the play’s particular marriage of politics and satirical farce has plenty of scope for universal application, stripped to some degree of its Italian origins.

Dario Fo’s courageous play is based on the real-life case of rail-worker Giuseppe Pinelli, falsely accused of being a bomb-planting anarchist in 1969.

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Pinelli “fell” to his death from a window of Milan’s police headquarter’s.

Fo wrote the play in the aftermath of the murder, as evidence of police corruption was uncovered and Pinelli was later absolved from any responsibility for the bombings.

In the production, con-man Pimpernel sneaks into police headquarters and masquerades as a magistrate reopening the case and examining the police’s versions of the events.

Borderline presents a plausible and excellent English version of the play, set in today’s political world while retaining aspects of its Italian heritage.

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In a time when journalists have been hit with questionable use of the Terrorism Act, the Anglicising of a story whose key message that corruption is the rule, not the exception, is entirely relevant.

Plus, Borderline only add to the show’s layering of humour by referring to this farcical time-hopping.

I don’t know what it says about me that my favourite character of any production I’ve ever seen on stage in amateur dramatics is a pirate-dressing, maniacal con-man but actor Adrian Hartley nailed the sharp dialogue and wit of his character, delivering a performance reminiscent of David Tennant’s repertoire of eccentrics.

In fact, the entire cast delivered a sizzling display of wit, the chemistry between the actors bubbling. Kudos therefore to John Cummings, Richard Holley, Mike Craine, Jan Playfer and Yvonne Bolton.

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While the play lagged momentarily during an early scene, it was paced for the most part at high-speed to offer up a dose of furious fun.

No doubt, Borderline’s hilarious and clever adaptation proved exactly why this political satire is a modern classic.

Final performances will take place at The Muni, Colne, tonight until Saturday, inclusive, at 7-30pm.

Tickets may be booked via the box office on 01282 661234 or at Colne Town Hall.