Review: They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay! at the New Vic, Newcastle under Lyme

Writer: Dario Fo

Adaptation: Deborah McAndrew

Director: Conrad Nelson

Northern Broadsides have never been ones to shy away from the audience it aims to represent and this new adaptation of Dario Fo’s Don’t Pay? Won’t Pay?  is no different. This is a stimulating farce that packs a punch and inspires a debate.

Moving the setting to ‘Brexit Britain’ not only makes the play extremely relevant and relatable but also it provides a core to build on the characters portrayed.

Deborah McAndrew’s script is hysterical, dynamic and complete with well-rounded characters. While the plot may be absurd and farcical and contains a trolly full of topical events, McAndrew’s focus on the characters’ struggle in modern Britain makes it rather poignant, ensuring that while this may be a very light-hearted play, the themes should be taken seriously.

Although Director Conrad Nelson has been sure to focus on the political debate about poverty in Britain today this is more provocative, rather than lecturing. It was fascinating to see nodding and shaking heads from the audience almost as if they were watching a political debate. It’s quite remarkable that a play written 40 years could have just so much relevance to the reality that is faced today.

Michael Hugo’s multi-rolling is utilised for comic effect with many lines referring to previous characters he played. Hugo is becoming well known, particularly at the New Vic for his audience engagement and larger than life characters and his performance for this was no different. The rest of the cast bump off each other and clearly are enjoying performing it as well as the audience is watching it.

No matter your political ideology this farce will have you creasing in the isles. Whether it’s at the larger than life plot, the in your face slapstick comedy, or awkward sniggers at relevant topics. With the clouds of a divided nation lingering over the country, this piece of comic relief will take your mind of it all.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

5money*Decision based on a ticket price of £13.50. For more info on this new value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating

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