The University Dramsoc graced the Alma Tavern Theatre on Tuesday 19th April with a stunning production of ‘The Accidental Death of An Anarchist’, an old Italian play originally written by Dario Fo.
Stunning it may be, there were a few things to be improved on; the general lines and actions across the whole performance could have been delivered with more precision to avoid clumsy errors, although errors were dealt with a slick self-awareness befitting to the comedy. There was a lot of anarchy and mania on stage, as background subplots, although hilarious, got a little too dominating at the sacrifice of the audiences’ general understanding. These criticisms however, are minor, irrelevant, forgettable and highly forgivable when you take in the pure speed of the drama. There is no waiting around, this is a play that accelerates from nought-to-sixty in-seconds, whose punchlines are over as soon as they have begun. You could not help but be astonished at how the cast kept up with their own words. This reviewer was right to have forgotten a notebook; it was the very definition of “fast-paced action”- if I had even blinked I would have missed a vital plot-twist.
The characterization and acting was of some of the highest ever seen at Dramsoc; expressions, movement and lines were so well learnt, as this is a very verbose and challenging play which was brave to take on. Elliot Monty Evans commanded both stage and audience as The Maniac, impressing from the beginning, and showing fine versatility in this difficult part. Akshay Khanna’s pterodactyl screaming had perfect comedic timing, and the whole cast were visibly drenched in sweat by the end- aside from Romilly Brown, who portrayed her role with a cool sleekness, bringing a much needed change of pace to the scene. There were even some memorable sleight-of-hand tricks with handcuffs too.
The Alma Tavern Theatre made for aesthetically pleasing visuals, as bright costumes contrasted against the black box studio and simple lighting. The play as a whole seemed remind of An Inspector Calls and One Man Two Governors –When the telephone rang, all other sound was cut out, building steep tension, and some physical comedia-dell-arte-inspired moments well exhibited the director’s knowledge of theatre.
Both cast and crew must be commended on their hard work, as I have seen professional theatre in which performers did not work as tirelessly as this team. Just when you think everything on stage is getting too much too chaotic with a literal ticking clock and you ask yourself ‘can they get any louder?’, the answer is Yes. Yes, they can. And it’s exciting. Arresting, even.