Photos: The Orange Tree Theatre Presents TOM FOOL

When money goes missing, a family on the brink hurtles over the edge, and Martha has to decide whether she will stay to pick up the pieces.

By: Mar. 15, 2022

The Orange Tree Theatre today announces the full cast for Franz Xaver Kroetz's Tom Fool, translated by Estella Schmid and Anthony Vivis. Diyan Zora directs Anna Francolini (Martha), Jonah Rzeskiewicz (Ludwig) and Michael Shaeffer (Otto).

The production opens on 16 March, with previews from 12 March, and runs until 16 April, with a livestreamed performance via OT On Screen on 7 April.

"I'd like to climb out of my skin, if I could."

Every night Martha listens to the minute details of husband Otto's day at the factory. He's a man with big dreams, stuck in a job where he feels like a cog in the machine. Their teenage son Ludwig just wishes he had a job, or at least his own space, far far away from his parents.

They are each frustrated with a life they can't seem to escape.

When money goes missing, a family on the brink hurtles over the edge, and Martha has to decide whether she will stay to pick up the pieces.

A dark and unnervingly funny play about how capitalism creeps into the minutiae of one family's life, just at the moment women started to change the rules of the game.

Completing the creative team is Zoe Hurwitz (Designer), Christopher Nairne (Lighting Designer), Joe Dines (Sound Designer), Chris Evans (Movement Director), and Christopher Worrall (Casting Director).

Franz Xaver Kroetz is an author, playwright, actor and director and Germany's most frequently performed playwright. He has written over 60 plays including The Nest, Through the Leaves, Game Crossing, Michi's Blood, Persistent, Men's Business, Farmyard, Global Interest, Upper Austria, Dear Fritz, Neither Fish Nor Flesh, Munich Child and Request Concert.

Anna Francolini plays Martha. She has previously performed in Taking Steps at the Orange Tree. Her other credits include Strictly Ballroom (Piccadilly Theatre), Peter Pan,, Caroline, or Change, Almost Like Being in Love and Metropolis Cabaret (National Theatre), Our Town (Almeida Theatre), That Day We Sang, A View from the Bridge (Royal Exchange Theatre), More Rifer, How the World Began, The Wolves at the Window, Anatol (Arcola Theatre), Victor Victoria (Southwark Playhouse), Awaking Beauty (Stephen Joseph Theatre), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Theatre Royal Northampton), Three Sisters on Hope Street (Liverpool Everyman), Into the Woods (Royal Opera House), Lee Miller and 5/11 (Chichester Festival Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (English Touring Theatre), The Ballad of Little Jo, Cutting Edge, There's Always a Woman, Floyd Collins and Saturday Night (Bridewell Theatre), Daisy Pulls It Off (Clear Channel Entertainment), Let Us Fly (King's Head Theatre), Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight (Soho Theatre), Mahler's Conversion (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and UK tour), Dick Whittington (Sadler's Wells), Merrily We Roll Along (Donmar Warehouse), A Life in the Dayz of Stan Bishop (London Palladium), I'd Rather Be Right (Her Majesty's Theatre), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Oxford Stage Company), Company (Gielgud Theatre), and Little Shop of Horrors (Watermill Theatre). Her television credits include The Ipcress File, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Roadkill, Homeland, Vera, Portrait, New Tricks, Game Over, Lie With Me, Down to Earth and Jonathan Creek; and for film, Emma, The Kill Team, Han Solo: Star Wars Anthology, Salty, Annihilation, The Final Curtain and Topsy-Turvey.

Jonah Rzeskiewicz plays Ludwig. His theatre credits include Coming Clean (Trafalgar Studios) and Edward II (Royal Exchange, Manchester). For television, his credits include Masters of the Air and for film; The Dig and Death on the Nile.

Michael Shaeffer plays Otto. His theatre credits include A Very Expensive Poison, Girl from the North Country, All About My Mother (The Old Vic), Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre), How to Hold Your Breath, Burn, Friday Night Sex (Royal Court Theatre), The Illiad, Little Revolution, Mr Burns (Almeida Theatre), The Vote (Donmar Warehouse), Godchild (Hampstead Theatre), Table, London Road, The Threepenny Opera (National Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night (Stafford Gatehouse), Restoration (UK tour), Hamlet (Theatre Royal Northampton), Of Mice and Men (Mercury Theatre), Dreams from a Summerhouse (Watermill Theatre), Macbeth (Southwark Playhouse), Original Sin (Crucible Theatre), The Beautiful Game, Jesus Christ Superstar (Really Useful Group), Oliver! (Cameron Mackintosh), and Glad All Over, Wonderful West End and Twist and Shout (DGM). His television credits include Karen Pirie, Rogue Heroes, The Treasure of the Black Swan, The Liberator, The Salisbury Poisonings, Chernobyl, The ABC Murders, Bodyguard, Rellik, Trauma, Brussels, Oasis, Taboo, Vera, Grantchester, New Tricks, SS-GB, The Last Panthers, Foyle's War, Luther, Black Mirror, Mrs Biggs, Game of Thrones, Parade's End, Silent Witness, MI High, EastEnders, Kingdom, and World in Arms - Navies; and for film, All the Old Knives, Radioactive, Star Wars: Rogue One, London Road, London Fields, Trance, Anna Karenina, Broken, Breaking and Entering, Kingdom of Heaven, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Diyan Zora was the 2021 winner of the Genesis Future Directors Award and directed Klippies (Young Vic). Other theatre credits include Othello (Barons Court Theatre), Ms Y. (Young Vic), Chronicles of a City We Never Knew (Gate Theatre) and Gather Ye Rosebud (Theatre503); and as an associate director, her work includes Faith, Hope and Charity and Love (National Theatre) and The Ferryman (Gielgud Theatre).

Learn more at


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