Ford: Unsafe at any speed
The real Rob Ford often feels like a caricature, and the play definitely uses this to its advantage.
by Valerie Cardinal
Matt Jones’s adaptation...sometimes it scores specifically amusing hits about Ford's politics and persona.
Since Dario Fo wrote Death of an Anarchist in 1970, the play has been adapted numerous times to match the politics of the place where it is set. In The Blacklist Committee for Unsafe Theatre’s The Mysterious Case of The Flying Anarchist, the Italian farce is transposed to Toronto. It’s set right after a G20 meeting in the not-so-distant future of 2018, when Rob Ford is still mayor. The police claim that an anarchist who was interrogated jumped out of a fourth-story window, but why? Certified crazy person and professional impersonator The Maniac aims to find out.
Everyone gets their solid moments of clowning. Kyle Allatt does a good job as Mayor Rob Ford, stalking and shouting his way across the stage, covered in red makeup that seems to intensify as the show goes on. Matt Jones’s adaptation does go for the easy digs about Ford’s weight (even featuring a gag involving Rob Ford falling over), but sometimes it also scores specifically amusing hits about his politics and persona.
However, the whole show belongs to Susanna Jones in the role of the Maniac, as she impersonates a police commissioner to find out the truth. My attention gravitated towards her even in scenes when Jones was firmly in the background. This means that if you enjoy a good wide-eyed, over the top and silly performance, you’ll love it, and if you don’t, you probably won’t like The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist.
The story remains very Toronto-centric for obvious reasons, so it might be best to go in knowing a thing or two about Rob Ford and 2010’s G20 protests. However, the real Rob Ford often feels like a caricature, and The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist definitely uses this to its advantage.
Running time: 1 hour