NO PAY? NO WAY! Review by Trevor Sinclair
On Friday night I spent the night crying… in laughter. Dario Fo is the master of the art of silliness, and his play No Pay? No Way! embodies it. This play was so strong in its first release in 1974 in Italy that people mimicked its action, and looted the supermarkets. That would never happen in Australia, would it? Apparently, it would. When the prices double, the jobs dry up and the eviction notices arrive, they revolt. Antonia (Helen Thomson) is in the midst of an angry mob of women that loots a supermarket, because it’s the only way she can put food on the table – even if what she chooses to liberate from the shelves is somewhat eccentric. Dog food, rabbit food, bird seed and a few vegetables. When news of the looting reaches her husband, Giovanni (Glenn Hazeldine), he declares he would divorce a wife who was involved.
No Pay? No Way! is a frenzy of laughs set in a very ordinary block of flats. Scenes like the hilarious farce scene with a body in the closet, “the cop and the coffin”, is brilliantly timed physical comedy with amazing contributions from Giovanni and Margherita (Catherine Van-Davies) and husband Luigi (Rahel Romahn). The constant hiding of stolen goods in various parts of the set, as well as in the costumes of Antonia and Margherita is relentless. I have to give a huge nod to Aaron Tsindos who steals the show with four roles, from the Sergeant to the Police Inspector to the Undertaker to the Old Man he holds his own in a Cleese-like manner of absurdity. The only distraction for me was there was so much laughter from the audience in this performance that I often missed the next line that was being delivered. It’s 4.5 stars from me.
Sydney Theatre Company’s “No Pay? No Way!” is playing the Drama Theatre of the Sydney Opera House until April 4th.