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28th April 2023

Royal Exchange Theatre hosts an uprising

No Pay? No Way!, a contemporary retelling of Dario Fo’s Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay!, is having its UK premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre
Royal Exchange Theatre hosts an uprising
Photo: Royal Exchange Theatre

Times are hard. Sometimes all you want is a little escapism. The Royal Exchange, however, are putting on a play about these hard times!

No Pay? No Way! is a contemporary retelling of Dario Fo’s Non Si Paga! Non Si Paga!, which directly translates to No Pay! No Pay! but is usually titled Can’t Pay? Won’t Pay! in English. An absurdist comedy, it is a fiercely intelligent version of Dario Fo’s original farce.

This adaptation had its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House in 2020, where it was a smash-hit, just before the world shut down. It is now set to have its UK premiere right here in Manchester.

Antonia nips out for a few bits for tea but when she and the other women find out prices in the local supermarket have doubled, a rebellion is born! In an involuntary riot the women storm the shop, grabbing, shoving and filling their trollies – like supermarket sweep on steroids.

When she arrives home Antonia has no idea where to hide the swag, and when Margherita walks in, just before her devoted husband appears, they have no choice but to fake a miracle pregnancy, quickly shoving the contraband up Margherita’s coat with no time to spare! Events wonderfully, chaotically and hilariously spiral to a stomach-splitting crescendo.

“This wasn’t an organised protest, this was a spontaneous uprising!”

Sharply focused and wonderfully, relentlessly, bone-achingly funny, this ferocious and feisty political comedy is an urgent exploration of our global economic reality.


No Pay? No Way! runs at the Royal Exchange Theatre from May 12 to June 10.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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