Translated by Estella Schmid and Anthony Vivis

“An absolute 100% 24-carat diamond of a show. It’s a bitter comedy about a family falling apart given a splinter-sharp and deeply intelligent production by Diyan Zora… I can’t recommend it enough. Best show I’ve seen in ages.” Dan Rebellato

★★★★ “Kroetz beautifully writes jolts of everyday life in this family… Equal parts bleak and funny, Diyan Zora has staged a tender portrayal of a finely drawn family struggling to weigh up what their love is worth… an astute realisation of the limits of class, of dissatisfaction, and the failure to achieve childhood dreams.” The Guardian 

★★★★ “A gem from a playwright we should know more about… performances shot through with a painful beauty” The Times

★★★★ “Given vivid life by a trio of strong performances… one of the prolific German playwright Franz Xaver Kroetz’s most perennially relevant works. The Stage 

★★★★ “A moving revival… Nuanced and powerful performances” Broadway World

★★★★ “The Orange Tree Theatre celebrates its 50th birthday this year. Long established as a centre for excellence, this production is no exception. The acting displayed is exemplary.” Everything Theatre

★★★★ “All three actors are excellent” The Arts Desk

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.

Franz Xaver Kroetz, Germany’s most frequently performed playwright, is the author of over 60 plays including The Nest, Through the Leaves and Request Programme.

Director Diyan Zora was the winner of the 2021 Genesis Future Directors Award, directing Klippies by Jessica Sian at the Young Vic Theatre, and worked with Alexander Zeldin as an Associate Director on his plays Faith, Hope and Charity and Love at the National Theatre.

“The great beauty of Tom Fool is that it manages to address the politics of capitalism without a hint of polemic. Kroetz relies upon the emotional dynamics and powerful poetry that are the hallmark of great theatre.” The Guardian

Franz Xaver Kroetz: Defying the Rules 
Dramaturg Jennifer Bakst relects on Tom Fool and the work of Germany’s most staged playwrights.


2 for 1 tickets available for all performances 

When you buy a ticket you get another ticket free, courtesy of Love Your Local Theatre, supported the National Lottery. Available to National Lottery players, using promo code LOVEYLT at checkout. See more information and full terms and conditions

Book with confidence: If you or a member of your group cannot attend the performance just let us know up to 24 hours beforehand and we’ll help you exchange into an alternative performance or you can have credit to use another time. If a show is postponed or cancelled, we will offer credit for a future performance or a refund.

Currently social distancing is in place and mask wearing is required at the theatre (unless medically exempt), this is subject to change in response to Covid-19 developments; up-to-date guidance will be sent to you at least 24 hours before your scheduled performance. If capacity for your booked performance is increased, you will be contacted ahead of time and offered another socially distanced performance for your comfort.

OT On Screen
The play will also be available to watch from home via OT On Screen. 
Anna Francolini
Jonah Rzeskiewicz
Michael Shaeffer
DirectorDiyan Zora
DesignerZoë Hurwitz
Lighting DesignerChristopher Nairne
Sound DesignerJoe Dines
DramaturgJennifer Bakst
Movement DirectorChris Evans
Intimacy CoordinatorDavid Thackeray
Casting DirectorChristopher Worrall
Voice CoachEmma Woodvine
Costume SupervisorRebecca Carpenter
Deputy Stage ManagerAnna Hunscott
Assistant Stage ManagerEavan Gribbin