Review: 'Accidental Death of an Anarchist' at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse

Angelica Potter

Accidental Death of an Anarchist is a full force farce taking place in Milan, Italy and based on the real-life story of the suspicious death of Giuseppe Pinelli, a railway employee and recognized anarchist. Written by Dario Fo in 1970, only one year after Pinelli’s death, the play centralizes around themes such as governmental power, corruption and cover-ups. This play exposes hypocrisy not only within the play’s world, but in the real life world around its audience members. 

The moment the audience walked into the theatre the detailed and intimate set drew them into the world they were about to see. Ingeniously designed by Dan Daly, the set effectively portrayed a simple office at police headquarters in Milan, Italy circa 1970. At the center of the stage were two French doors which opened to a small terrace to show a blue sky and leafless tree. Perfectly placed, the doors too, are characters within the play; with many parts of the story focused around them. During the prologue before the play began, the audience was slowly introduced to its characters and their morning routines as they silently entered the office and begrudgingly began their tasks. Though there were no lines and the play hadn’t officially started, the audience lowered their voices except for moments of chuckling when they made comments to those around them regarding the action on the stage. 

Fantastically directed by Matt Cahoon, the cast is comprised of six wonderfully talented actors, Richard Brundage (Inspector Bertozzo), A.J. Ditty (Maniac), John-Michael Breen (Constable), Nicholas Wilder (Sports Jacket), Jason Plourde (Superintendent), and Rebecca Tucker (Journalist). All six brought quirkiness and vigor to their diverse characters. While all had their strengths and made the show an overall success, there was one who stood out a little more from the very beginning. A. J. Ditty brilliantly portrayed his hysterical Maniac character. A master deceiver, the Maniac, constantly had one, if not more, of the other characters wrapped up in one of his schemes and either hanging on his every word or wanting to hang him with his every word. His intelligent and creative portrayal of this complex character is not to be missed. 

This thoughtful play was not only full of slap-stick comedy, but it also included modern day references which effectively kept the audience engaged and laughing throughout the play. Best appreciated by a mature audience, Accidental Death of an Anarchist plays at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse until August 22nd. For additional information and tickets to Accidental Death of an Anarchist visit

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