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.

You can listen to our review of the show at the Theatre Royal Haymarket here:
The Play Review – Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

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

Become a Patron!

Since I launched The Play Podcast in April 2020, I have managed to eschew any form of advertising or sponsorship, and I would like to continue to produce the podcast without doing so. I therefore invite you to help me to continue to make the podcast by becoming a Patron.
Additional benefits available to Patrons include Footnotes on the plays covered in the podcast, as well as early access to The Play Review.

For details click here

Thank you very much for listening and for your support.

The Texts
If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them from our selected partners Bookshop.org and Blackwell’s. Not only will you be supporting independent booksellers, we will also earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. Click on the cover to buy from our chosen partner. Thank you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also be interested in …
083 – The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

083 – The Caretaker by Harold Pinter

When it premiered in London’s West End in 1960, The Caretaker catapulted its author to fame and fortune. The play is set entirely in a single room in a dilapidated house, and presents the territorial battle between three men living on the margins of society. The psychological manoeuvrings of the men are dramatised in what we now recognise as Pinter’s cryptic mix of comedy and menace, along with his characteristic relish in the precision and panache of language.

As we record this episode a new production of the play is playing in the Minerva theatre in Chichester, and I am delighted to welcome its director, Justin Audibert, to the podcast to help us explore Pinter’s enigmatic work.

082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

082 – People, Places & Things by Duncan Macmillan

Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things is a blisteringly frank and funny portrait of addiction and invented identity. When the play premiered at the National Theatre in 2015, Denise Gough won awards for her electrifying performance, and as we record this episode she revives her role in London’s West End.

It is a fascinating and challenging play, and an exhilarating piece of theatre. I am delighted to talk with its author, Duncan Macmillan, and the production’s director, Jeremy Herrin.

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

081 – The Government Inspector, by Nikolay Gogol

Vladimir Nabokov described The Government Inspector as the “greatest play in the Russian language”. Gogol’s comedy of mistaken identity is an unexpected mix of fantastical farce and serious social satire. that has survived as a paradigm of political corruption and social hypocrisy in any age or place.

As we record this episode a new adaptation of the play written and directed by Patrick Myles arrives on the London stage, and I’m delighted to talk with Patrick about this classic play and its enigmatic author.