Pay Won’t Pay
Written by Dario Fo
Performed by LIPA 2nd Year Drama Students
LIPA, 12th-14th May 2005
LIPA’s Gillian Lemon took on the directorial role for Dario Fo’s
satirical farce ‘Can’t Pay Won’t Pay’, relating
the fightback of working class Italian women, who go a-plundering from
the supermarkets whilst their menfolk strike at the giant Fiat factory
The play itself is a wonderfully sharp and imaginative, advocating ‘bottom
up’ revolution whilst attacking bourgeois hypocrisies and trade
union/ Communist collusion with government. Though not normally remembered
for his art criticism, it was Mao Zedong who insisted that political messages
and content must be married to imaginative artistic structure. Fo easily
adheres to this premise.
And of LIPA’s production? An able effort, with energetic performances
from the two leads - Aimee Berwick and Scott Turnbill - and enjoyable
support from a wonderfully expressive Nicola Lean as an uncomprehending
neighbour, as well as well brought off attack on the good ol’ police,
with Jamie Evans being of note as a heavy Lancastrian-accented Inspector.
There was some nicely imaginative moments as time slows down for a slow
motion inspector allowing the thieving main characters to speed off off-stage,
returning to make fun of the troubled copper. However the farce at times
did drag and became irritating but giving the benefit of the doubt this
may well be Fo’s writing rather than LIPA students weaknesses. The
adaptation was clever in using colloquial English, Geordie, Lancashire
etc (and wise to avoid poor imitations of scouse – this was a non-Liverpool
Particularly good were the art deco/expressionistic/kitsch sets (slightly
reminiscent of an upbeat Dr Caligari) and excellent costume design with
oversized collars, buttons and lapels and garish colours.
In sum a commendable effort.