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September 21st 2022

Accidental Death of an Anarchist at the Edinburgh Fringe

‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’ by Dario Fo, performed by Blackheath High School students at the Space on the Mile, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 8-12th August 2022.

What a privilege to take Blackheath High students to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for a performance of Dario Fo’s satirical classic, ‘Accidental Death of an Anarchist’. This was the Drama Department’s second visit to the Festival - having performed Ionesco’s ‘Rhinoceros’ three years ago to critical acclaim, we were determined to return. It felt wonderful to be back in the city of theatre, and, a first for the Edinburgh Fringe visitor, experience extremely hot weather!   

The cast committed to an intensive 7-day rehearsal period in school prior to Edinburgh, where they were able to experiment with ideas, character and costume. Betty as The Maniac worked her magic with several fast costume changes and a wooden hand, which was deployed to great hilarity in the show. Grace, with her customary enthusiasm, performed the most energetic forward roll seen on stage. Marissa was beyond excellent as the sleazy Inspector and did a fantastic comedy fall as she slipped on a glass eye! Tamsin patiently endured daily bouts of slapping and punching as the hapless Inspector Bertozzo, to great comedic effect; and Ella Mary commanded the stage as the wily, but authoritative Inspector. The actors were ably supported by our wonderful tech team, Ellie and Holly, and Anya assisted with flyering (hard work!) and props. Thank you, one and all.  

Part of the fun (and the exhaustion!) of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is seeing as much theatre as possible. We very much enjoyed the escape room, the improvised Sherlock Holmes show, Abigail’s Party, and the silent disco, where Ms Day and Ms Nicholls revealed their enthusiasm (if not quite the talent) for dancing in public. Strictly next year, perhaps?! Certainly, a highlight for the students was meeting Phoebe Waller-Bridge whilst the cast were promoting the show; she was delightful and represented a real highlight of the trip. 

It is testament to both the cast and crew that despite the intense rehearsal period of an extremely wordy play, that Edinburgh audiences loved the show!   

Theatre reviews: 

‘This interpretation of the 1970 Italian classic was a right romp as they tore through the story…Full of youthful energy and performed at a cracking pace, the cast’s enthusiasm was palpable’ (UK Theatre Network) 

Audience reviews: 

I saw the first West End production of this show in the 1970s (Yes, I am that old). This production by Blackheath High School lived up to the memory. What it lacked in West End star names it made up for in verve and trueness to the spirit of Fo. If it were still playing I would recommend it to everyone’ .

‘Fantastic! Funny and thought-provoking with a very relevant message. Excellent acting and creative physical theatre. The teenagers in our group also loved it!’ 

It is always proof of audience appreciation that members bother to leave reviews for such a short run of only 5 performances. Perhaps the best review came after our last performance from an enthusiastic audience member who had actually worked with Dario Fo the playwright. She was breathless in her enthusiasm and said our young cast captured the energy and mania necessary to communicate Fo’s political ideas. She said he would have loved it. Compliments don’t come much better than that… 

Written by Ms Day
Written by Ms Day

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