Dario Fo’s famous farce leaves a unavoidable impression in this lively production by the Sewell Barn Company.
Karl Hartland and Claire Williamson’s direction really ramps up the ridiculous in the second half, mixing slapstick and physical comedy with the sharp wordplay.
Hattie Scopes leads as the Maniac, with a crazed eye but a little too much self-control, with Vincent Gaine and Emma Kirkham convincing as the duplicitous detectives.
Will Harragan’s constable sounds the surest note, with his background acting a delight all of its own.
Some of the political content lacks nuance and is rattled through in its delivery, but the strength is in the comedy and absurdity of the unfolding action.
There’s nothing accidental about the laughs; this is a rude and spunky production of a modern classic.