Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


Accidental Death of an Anarchist 
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, June 2023
Photo by Helen Murray


065 – Accidental Death of an Anarchist, by Dario Fo and Franca Rame

Jul 31, 2023 | Podcast Episodes | 0 comments

Accidental Death of an Anarchist is both an hilarious farce and a biting satire. The original play was written in 1970 by the Italian dramatist Dario Fo and his wife Franca Rame, as an artistic “act of intervention” in response to the unlikely death of an anarchist in police custody in Milan. The play became hugely popular around the globe, as a joyously anarchic comedy and as an emblematic artistic protest.

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to explore the play on the occasion of a new adaptation being staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London, which updates the setting and scandals it exposes to contemporary Britain. The new production is an hilarious and scathing rendition, written by Tom Basden and directed by Daniel Raggett. I’m privileged to be joined by both Tom and Dan to talk about how this play remains so popular and vitally relevant.

Tom Basden

Tom Basden is a writer, actor and stand-up comedian. He has been BAFTA nominated four times for his TV writing, credits for which include episodes of Peep Show, Fresh Meat and The Wrong Mans, as well as the sitcoms Here We Go and The Plebs, in which he also starred. As a stage actor he has appeared in Party at the Arts Theatre and in Sydney, Joseph K at the Gate, There is a War (National Theatre), Holes (Edinburgh Festival and the Arcola), and The Crocodile (at Manchester International Festival). As if that is not enough, he has also won an Edinburgh Comedy Award for his stand-up shows.

Recommended Play

Tom recommended The Effect by Lucy Prebble.

Photo by David Bennett

Daniel Raggett

Daniel Raggett’s recent credits as a director include Noel Coward’s The Vortex at the Chichester Festival Theatre in the Spring of 2023, with real-life mother and son, Lia Williams and Joshua James, playing Coward’s disturbed mother and son. His production of Anna X at the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2021 was one of the first theatre events to emerge following the darkness of the pandemic.

Dan has also worked extensively as an Associate Director at the National Theatre, in the West End and on Broadway, including on shows such as West Side Story and Network.

Recommended Play

Dan recommended Dear England by James Graham, and
A Strange Loop by Michael R Jackson.

Photo by Helen Murray

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