Just spotted that the death has been announced of the wonderful Dario Fo, an Italian playwright, - sophisticated, subversive, brilliant and always challenging, aged 90. As a student in the 1980s, I saw an electrifying version of his savagely brilliant play "Accidental Death Of An Anarchist" performed by a gifted theatre troupe. This is something that it is not always easy to get right: Perhaps surprisingly, political satire does not always lend itself to effortless performance, and, at its clichéd worst, can come across as, perhaps, too polemical, overlooking obvious stuff such as subtlety, and character and wit to give an edgy flavour to the message the play wishes to convey, or impart. This is because the demands of correctly transmitting - or imparting - the political message can drown or smother the pure joy of art, and can strangle the sheer pleasure of performance captured and conveyed by the nuance of narrative, or the exploration of character can often get lost when the need to stress the message takes the proverbial centre stage. Politically, Dario Fo lay on the left of the political spectrum, and his work - and life - both - were an expression of the idea or the writer - and artist - as an intellectual 'engagé'. Fo addressed - and attacked - the shortcomings of the Italian state of the 1960s, - begging it to try to live up to try to be the best version of itself, and using his plays 'to speak truth to power'. At that time, this was a state where a ghastly nexus of Catholicism, Christian Democracy, corruption and corrosive short-cuts of constitutional rights led to a situation where whatever oversight of the state came from outside of official circles - from playwrights such as Fo - writing brilliant, and barbed material of which the Accidental Death Of an Anarchist was one of the best examples. To be able to write such scintillating material - and for it to work on stage - requires a profound knowledge of how politics and power works - and an intimate awareness of - an an understanding of, and sympathy for - human nature. There was a time in his life when Dario Fo was denied entry to the United States - a rather telling action. Of course, as sometimes happens, such people are eventually recognised, and finally celebrated in a country that had once reviled them. Fo won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997, deservedly. But that did not stop him commenting - equally acerbically - on more contemporary matters. Some of his more recent plays took accurate aim at Silvio Berlusconi, an inviting target, whose almost complete control of much of the Italian media meant that the stage remained a valuable - indeed, an invaluable - platform for enabling and allowing critical political expression. His wife, who was his muse, life partner, companion, lead player in some of his plays, an informed political activist in her own right, predeceased him a few years earlier. RIP Dario Fo, wit, playwright, a simpatico human being and an outstanding artist and writer.