Shtick on a stick – Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Berkeley Rep

There is a lot of handwringing about the dire state of American regional theatres. If Berkeley Rep‘s cheesy staging of Fo‘s Accidental Death of an Anarchist is typical, it’s time for the breed to go extinct.

I’m no Fo expert but ostensibly this is a politically driven farce based on a real outrage and the author’s reaction against it. This is what The Actor’s Gang can do well and even then they’re careful about applying their Style to it. There’s no such thinking behind Accidental. It’s an excuse to let a 1970s Levitz regional theatre walnut-veneer-over-particle-board entertainment station (he sings! he dances! he clowns!) camp it up as he sees fit. A director is credited, perhaps he worked on the synching the shtick with the two-man band. The casting is multi-ethnic and every stereotype is front-and-center in what used to be Berkeley. The supporting cast may be talented in their own right or maybe they are just desperate for work.

Could it have gotten better in the second half? Perhaps but better to salvage the evening rather than try to stay for the sake of the larcenous ticket price.

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