Theater Review: Accidental Death of an Anarchist

If you’re not rolling around laughing three-fourths of the time from the quartet’s verbal, facial and physical antics, you need to get a refund on your sense of humor.

By HELEN KAYE
April 17, 2018 21:08
2 minute read.
The Khan Theater

The Khan Theater. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

When you have a certified nutcase (Erez Shafrir) making twice-ground mincemeat of four cops (Itai Szor, Yoav Hyman, Nir Ron and Yossi Eini) with most certainly guilty consciences then you have a certifiable probability of farce, which Gurevitch’s production of Death of an Anarchist provides in most generous measure.

More simply, if you’re not rolling around laughing three-fourths of the time from the quartet’s verbal, facial and physical antics, you need to get a refund on your sense of humor.

Disclosure: the other fourth is for thinking.

Because you have to think that if it takes a maniac to uncover the cover-up of a probable murder by the police (because nobody else is), then the corruption goes further and gets broader, which is the point the play makes, adding a few (unsubtle) and comical comments about certain Persons (here) and a President (elsewhere).

In 1969, in the wake of a series of thought-to-be anarchist bombings in Milan, known anarchist railway worker Guiseppe Pinelli was arrested, questioned and either jumped or, as was more commonly believed at the time, was pushed out of a fourth-floor window at the Milan Central Police Station.

Fo wrote the farce the following year; the authorities fumed, the public flocked, and has kept flocked ever since.

For this one, Svetlana Brega did the set – a shabby office, oh, and it would be patently unfair of me to reveal how the set is changed from the 1st to the 4th floor – and the costumes which are completely, if not nattily, attuned to the various characters.

Daniel Salomon did the music and Roni Cohen the lights.

Now then. Gourevitch directs comedy with the deftest, lightest and most assured of touches, and the actors in Anarchist are accomplished comedians all.

It’s Shafrir’s show all the way from the his first entrance as a bag-laden Maniac with papers to his exit as a clown-like character in a red fright wig and piratical overcoat. He conducts most of his “investigation” in the character of a judge who goes from ingratiating to terrifying, from jovial to hectoring in the blink of an eye, with tone, stance and gesture to match. It’s bravura and hilarious.

As a young cop and (partial) straightman, young Itai Szor is lovably clueless and admirably loyal. Yoav Hyman, equipped with excess weight, bad hair and awful clothes is the ultimate in bumbling, incompetent, ineffectual cop-hood in the person of Inspector Bertozzo. Nir Ron, who has been blessed with the ability to shift his face and body into innumerable subtleties, uses them to the full as the equally bumbling Inspector Pissani. Like a demented train, Yossi Eini charges electrically about with gruesome purpose as the wannabe ferocious Superintendent. Carmit Mesilati-Kaplan cameos most brightly as journalist Feletti.

Loverly. Glad to have seen it.


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